Kupuna Life: Flipping through a legacy of knowledge and smiles

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — In a quiet Hawaii Kai neighborhood at the base of Koko Head is 72-year-old Lou Muzzarini taking on your typical library duties.

“Even though it seems like something trivial, it is important to keep the books filed in the correct order so they’re easily retrievable,” said Koko Head Elementary Volunteer Muzzarini.

“He makes me laugh because whenever I checkout a book, he goes like this ‘oh, that’s a nice book that you’re checking out.” and he made me smile by smiling at me,” said fourth-grader Hatesa Sopoaga

“Because since I’m a bookworm now I think I know a lot more about him,” said fifth-grader Eri Kuroyanagi. “I think I’m gonna know and I’m going to be sure that he is a really nice person.”

Lou started volunteering at the school because his granddaughters came here. He’s been in the library for four years, returning this year, even though his youngest moved on to middle school.”

“I decided to come back,” Muzzarini said. “It’s something I love to do. I love the school, I love the people here. It’s just a great place, a great place to do my volunteer work.”

That love steeped in a “life” of service, six years in the Army, 37 years with the Army Corps of Engineers and decades volunteering for the middle school program Math Counts.

“Soon after retirement, I found that there was a piece of my life that was missing there was a void, the void that was created by working, adding value and making a difference,” said Muzzarini.

“Lou is a great big light on our campus and he has so much experience from his past that he brings here and he really incorporates it with how he interacts with our children and he just has such a love and a passion for life and it’s so infectious with the whole campus,” said Parent Community Network Coordinator Stacey Shimabukuro-Lui.

One of his favorite stories is of a third-grader looking for a book about baseball.

“I showed him where to go, he looked in the book and a few minutes later he came back and he had three books, he had a book about baseball, he had a book about basketball and a book about football, and it just made me feel good because I helped him find not only what he wants but to go beyond what he was looking for,” said Muzzarini.

“Anytime we walk into the library and Lou is there, it’s like my whole day is made, it’s awesome,” said Shimabukuro-Lui.

“That’s important to have a legacy, a legacy of helping to make things better,” said Muzzarini.

A superstar far beyond the books.

“There’s nothing more gratifying to see a smile on the face of a child and get a big thank you because you helped them accomplish something and it’s a reward that’s just immeasurable,” said Muzzarini.

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