EWA BEACH, Hawaii (KHON2) — It was all hands on deck as the military community and volunteers came together to take back land overrun by invasive species.

Hui o Ho’ohonua — or HOH808 — organized the All Forces Workday at Kapapapuhi Point Park for everyone to get involved on Saturday, Feb. 26.

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“It’s a mission that came to us from kupuna, from the Hawaiian stewards around us, and from the community,” said HOH808 executive director Sandy Ward. “To end the historical perpetuation of trauma to the lands, to the waters and to the people of the Ewa moku.”

HOH808 is an Ewa-based non-profit started in 2015 by retired Navy Seabee Tony Chance. His Malama Pu`uloa program has already cleared 5-6 acres of invasive mangrove from the area — something many said was impossible.

“So I said, ‘You know what? Impossible. OK. Well, that’s where we’ll start.’ So, that became our motto. Impossible is where we start.”

Tony Chance, HOH808 founder & CEO

“It’s what I was called here to do, is to serve, to put others before self. But I’m not alone,” Chance said, “look around.”

Chance was definitely not alone. Among the volunteers was Lt. Col. Byron Owen out of Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base, who brought his men out from the 3rd Radio Battalion. He said the community response to seeing military give back was astounding.

“They didn’t know that Marines would be out here doing this kind of activity and I think it’s fantastic to allow the community to engage with us and kind of, off base, grassroots,” Owen said. “I think everybody’s been supportive of what we’ve been doing.”

One area of Kapapapuhi was once completely covered in mangroves and the water behind it could not be seen, but it is starting to become a fishpond again thanks to the work of volunteers.

Ty Gonzales, a local Boy Scout, also tagged along.

“It doesn’t look like too much of a difference while you’re doing the project, but you take a step back and just see the before and after pictures, and you’re just like ‘Wow, we really cleared out all of this.'”

Ty Gonzales, Boy Scout

HOH808 holds cleanups every second Saturday and they are always looking for volunteers. Click here to visit their website. They will even work with your schedule.

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“Let’s say you just want to come on a Tuesday, let’s say you want to come on a third Saturday. We’ll work with you because we know that Puuloa is calling. So join us,” Ward said.