Isle medical group gives
drug-awareness awards

The Hawaii Medical Service Association has awarded its 2005 Ola Pono Awards to nine individuals and groups who promote a safe, drug-free state.

In recognition of February being "Drug-Free Hawaii Awareness Month," the ceremony for the annual awards was held last month at the Hale Koa Hotel.

Each recipient received $1,000 that they can donate to the school or charitable organization of their choice. The winners and the organizations they are donating to are:

» Mark Stride of Kaneohe, who founded Aloha Aina Health Center in Maunawili Valley; Paepae O Heeia.

» Rene Siracuse of Pahoa on the Big Island, who established the Pahoa Weed and Seed program; Malama O Puna.

» Michael Ikeda of Captain Cook on the Big Island, who is a volunteer counselor at Kona Addiction Services; Neighborhood Place of Kona.

» Frances Rivero of Ewa Beach, director of the Hale Pono Ewa Beach Clubhouse for 14 years; Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii -- Hale Pono.

» The Higa Family of Zippy's Restaurants in Honolulu, which has promoted Drug-Free Hawaii Awareness Month and has a drug-free policy; the American Heart Association of Hawaii.

The School Award winners:

» Dennis Nishihara of Wahiawa, a counselor for 19 years at Waiau Elementary School, where he promotes drug-free programs. His prize money will go to the school.

» Mililani Middle School's Physical Education Department teachers, Gregg Agena, Nathan Houghtailing and Natalie Hirata. They serve as role models in the Recreational Student Leadership Program and are donating their prizes to the school.

The Hau Blossom Award winners, who have spent more than 25 years with the state Department of Education, are:

» Colleen Elfalan of Hawaii Kai, a transition counselor at Olomana School and the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility in Kailua, who is donating her $1,000 to Olomana.

» Colette Miyamoto-Kajiwara of Mililani, coordinator of Central Oahu's High Core Program for high-risk youths. Her prize will go to the program.

Other sponsors of the awards include the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii, Department of Education, state Department of the Attorney General and Kamehameha Schools' Extension Education Division.

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