More than 40 associates, family members and friends represented Ka Punawai Ola, a facility in Kapolei, Hawaii, in the West O’ahu Electric Light Parade on Dec. 8, 2018. It was the facility’s first time to participate in the annual event.
“Being part of KPO’s debut in the Kapolei Christmas parade was not only fun; it was an honor to represent the facility in front of thousands of people,” said Celine Ferreira, admissions and marketing director at the facility. “The emcee of the parade announced that KPO is near and dear to him because his ‘Papa’ is currently a resident at our facility. It was truly a blessing to hear him speak about the facility as we proudly marched by as a unified group.”
Ferreira and human resources director Kozzie LeJay spearheaded the facility’s inaugural participation in the annual parade, which is sponsored by the chamber of commerce and draws more than 9,000 spectators. In addition to the parade, the event includes live entertainment, activities, craft booths and food vendors; it culminates with a tree-lighting ceremony. The parade serves as the opening night kick-off for Kapolei City Lights.
“Being in the parade allowed us to market to a large audience at one time,” explained LeJay. “It was also a joy for our co-workers to spend time together outside the facility.”
More than 50 community groups participated in the parade – riding floats, a variety of vehicles or walking. Ka Punawai Ola’s associates walked the 2.5-mile parade route. Many of the associates and their young children passed out candy along the way. Everyone in the group wore Ka Punawai Ola T-shirts imprinted with the facility’s logo and motto: “Your Ohana is Our Ohana,” which means “Your family is our family.”
“It was such a blessing for KPO to be a part of the Kapolei parade,” said executive director Maryedith Motas. “Having the team come together with our families truly exhibited our family-focus motto.”
“The best part of the parade was just enjoying the company of one another,” added LeJay. “It was a wonderful bonding moment and morale booster. As we passed by, many of the parade spectators reminisced about their loved ones being cared for in KPO at one time or another. The KPO staff had such a good time that we are still talking about it weeks later.”
Facility associates are eager to participate in the parade once again next year, and they are hoping to have an even larger turnout.
“We had so much fun walking in the parade,” said Vanessa Kamoku, business office manager at the facility. “My kids really enjoyed seeing everyone and passing out candy. We can’t wait until next year!”