Kapaa Pop Warner Association players took their first look yesterday at new game jerseys donated by a Pop Warner Association in Orange County, Calif. The uniforms are part of donations from across the country to replace almost $35,000 worth of gear destroyed a month ago in an arson fire.

Kapaa’s Pop Warner
teams get uniforms

A California donation replaces
gear that was destroyed in a fire

LIHUE » All three teams of the Kapaa Pop Warner Football Association were issued new game uniforms yesterday four weeks after an arson fire destroyed the teams' gear.

The game uniforms -- the most difficult item to replace because they had to be made individually -- were donated by a Pop Warner Association in California that has the equipment to stencil its own jerseys.

The new game uniforms -- made especially for the three Kapaa teams and trimmed with Kapaa's traditional Kelly green and orange -- were an instant success with the players.

"Wow," said one youngster. "Very sexy. These must have been made at Victoria's Secret."

"I don't know. They may not let us on the field," said his buddy, holding up a jersey with a huge grin on his face. "They're going to say we're professionals."

There had been concerns whether the game uniforms could be replaced in time for next Saturday's Pop Warner Jamboree at Lihue's Vidinha Stadium, the traditional opening of the Pop Warner season on Kauai.

In the pre-dawn Aug. 6 fire, the three teams lost everything from helmets to the coaches' whistles. The loss was estimated at $34,500, and the equipment was not insured. A wooden storage building owned by Kauai County also was demolished in the blaze.

Also destroyed was a lanai adjoining the storage shed where players ages 8 to 15 used to do their homework before their nightly 2 1/2-hour practice sessions.

The fire is under investigation by Kauai police. It was set three days after the start of practice. The Kauai Fire Department had the fire out 13 minutes after receiving the call, but the building and the equipment were lost.

Since then the Kapaa Pop Warner Association has received $27,000 in cash donations. Jim Lull, a Kauai mortgage executive, donated $5,000 immediately after the fire.

"We've had checks come in from New Mexico, all over the place," said Fran Johnson, Kapaa Pop Warner vice president. "Tourists who were here at the time of the fire sent money after going home."

A major infusion of both equipment and cash came from Don Murphy, owner of Murphy's Bar in Honolulu and president of the Na Koa University of Hawaii Football Booster Club.

"I called Mark Milton, who is a wine broker and who is president of a youth athletic association in West Oahu with 300 to 400 kids. He said he had just received brand new pads -- shoulder pads, every kind of pad -- and the old ones were just sitting there in boxes," Murphy said.

"I took five boxes down to Young Brothers, and they shipped them to Kauai for free," Murphy said.

Murphy also made a huge blow-up of the Aug. 7 Star-Bulletin story about the fire and placed it above a donation box in his bar. Customers put in $600. Murphy matched it with another $600.

"Don Murphy just called me out of the blue and said, 'I'm going to help you.' He certainly did," Johnson said. "He really isn't involved in Pop Warner on Kauai, just a friend of a friend of a friend."

The loss of the equipment did not halt practice for even one day. The youngsters showed up in old jerseys and brought footballs from home.

Johnson said the number of players has grown since the fire to 90 from 75.

The boxes sent by Murphy arrived yesterday, and the contents were given full approval by the football moms opening the packages.

"This is more heavy-duty than the equipment we lost," Johnson said. "It's used, but it must have been refurbished. It's all in beautiful condition."



E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com