HONOLULU (KHON2) — For one Maui family, picking up the pieces from the Lahaina fire is part of how they’re trying to fund their recovery. What were made to be souvenirs before the blaze are now remnants from the disaster — silver dollar coins that took on a whole different value.
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On Aug. 8, Daniel Miranda and his family made it out of their Lahaina home and escaped the fire-engulfed town with their lives, their then 10-day-old baby girl, and their dog, Lucky. As for the rest: “We lost everything,” Miranda said. “But as sad as it is, we’re not just sad for what we lost, our home and business. It’s actually, the saddest part, is the community.”
Before the Maui fires, the Miranda family came up with a unique way to take home a memory of Hawaii while giving back to restoration. They made the “Hawaiian Dollar” coin. It carries no value as a currency, but it’s a memento with an ounce of real silver that funded conservation: one coin, one square foot preserved.
“We did buy a property and Big Island, which is under the company’s name,” Miranda said of the land dedicated piece-by-piece to conservation. “It was pretty much for tourists. Sometimes they like to take a stone, and we know that there’s no right to take a stone. If they take one of these coins, it still represents a piece of Hawaii without bad luck, and it’s actually real silver.”
When they went back to see for themselves what was lost after the fire, Miranda says he was shocked to find the coins in the rubble. Many are charred but recognizable. Others were preserved almost perfectly inside the cases now melted around them.
“We had some of them in a safe, and some of them outside the safe. we were able to retrieve them,” he said. “I have some other ones that got burned completely. This one was only melted because it was in the safe. The safe supposed to be fireproof, so they were able to still survive.”
The Mirandas are staying at one of the hotels as shelter, and trying to navigate the next moves. Miranda says they will recover, one step at a time, one coin at a time.
“We’ll start all over, our lives, our business,” he said. “We’re selling them (the recovered coins) on hawaiiandollar.com. Some of them are perfectly fine. You can still see all the details. The ones that are burned, you really don’t see much of the detail, but it’s a piece of history. They have a piece of Maui.”