Repairs for vandalized headstones at the Kawaiahao Church Cemetery begin

Local News

Two weeks ago, someone vandalized headstones at the Kawaiahao Church Cemetery.

The community was outraged. But volunteers came together to fix the dozens of damaged grave sites, and it was all out of the goodness of their hearts.

It’s a day to rebuild and forgive.

For nine-year-old Jizel, she’s just learning about her sixth great grandfather after his headstone was vandalized a few weeks ago.

She said, “I almost started crying when I saw it because it’s not right that they did this, and it’s not right that they did to my family members but also everybody.”

Jeffrey Ornellas, Local 1 Hawaii Business Agent said, “When we heard about this project it was like, ‘Why?’ I mean, ‘How?’ I mean, I couldn’t imagine and we feel for the families here, it’s just unimaginable.”

Because of the impact the damage had on the Kawaiahao Church and families, volunteers came together to fix what was broken.

Sal Dacquisto, a marble mason said, “We’re going to be chipping and grinding, you know pretty labor intensive, just to get these headstones upright it’s going to be a chore.”

“For me…God answers prayers and this is the combination of those answered prayers, people wanting to help for the sake, of making themselves feel good, and it makes them value, and so, I really value the hearts and spirits around the islands,” said Senior Pastor Kenneth Makuakane.

Cemeteries are not only a sacred place to visit family, but a place to teach us about our past.

I asked, “Why should we take better care of our cemeteries?”

Brickwood Galuteria, Chair of Board of Trustees responded, “Well they stand for so much, this is the immediate connection to our past and to our families, right? I think it’s important for us to pay attention. I know cemeteries are in total disrepair, and I would hope for those who care about our cemeteries to step up their game. Hopefully, we certainly are going to step up our game, it was done on our watch, we accept full responsibility for it.”

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