Dodge to receive
isle peace award

By Mary Adamski

Dr. Fred Dodge's community activism in Hawaii began four decades ago when Martin Luther King Jr. was leading the civil rights movement in the South.

"I owe thanks to a lot of people that I was radicalized -- radical meaning getting to the roots, the basics," said Dodge, who has been on the front line of causes from the Kalama Valley land use controversy in the 1960s, when pig farmers were evicted to make room for development, to the current concerns about military use of Makua Valley.

Dodge, 71, will be given the Hawaii Peacemaker Award on Monday at Church of the Crossroads. The church marks the King holiday each year by selecting a person who exemplifies the peace and justice ideals of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was slain in 1968. The 7:30 p.m. service is open to the public and will also feature a presentation by Haaheo Guanson and the Rev. Kaleo Patterson of the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center.

Participation in Malama Makua is the current focus of the Waianae Coast resident. The group, which won a 1998 federal court suit to halt use of the valley as a firing range, has acted as watchdog of Army activity there since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism led the court to allow resumption of military use. "We are in dialogue with the Army, doing more than protesting. It's painful to see the aina shelled," said Dodge, who joins others entering the valley regularly. "Every time we get Makua access, we find something new," he said. "We know there are at least 70 archeological sites."

The award also honors Dodge for his vocation. He has been a physician at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center since 1975, joining the nonprofit clinic when it faced closing. The center, still serving a mostly low-income population, now has 30 full- and part-time doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. It receives state funding for maintaining a 24-hour emergency room. "When we started we were 90 percent dependent on the government. It has turned around to 10 percent dependent and 90 percent self-supporting."

Thanking the community-based board of directors for tolerating his community activities, Dodge said, "I don't know how many other employers would have accepted my being arrested." That was in 1983, when Dodge and others joined Hansen's disease patients in resistance to state plans to close the Hale Mohalu hospital. Their live-in demonstration at the Pearl City facility was halted with arrests of activists, and the facility was closed.

The doctor has cut back to 20 hours a week at the clinic, but the activist is still on duty full time, and peacemaker is another current cause. Dodge was involved in anti-war protests during the Vietnam War. He said there is a chapter of Physicians for Peace being organized here now in the climate of impending war.

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