By Barry Villamil
It was quite an honor to be invited to last Friday’s Breene Harimoto Manana Community Park sign dedication ceremony that brought together the late Senator Breene Harimoto’s family, friends, City and County of Honolulu officials, area elected officials, and community organizations and leaders to celebrate the life, love, and dedication to the Pearl City community that he held in his heart until his passing in June, 2020. Senator Harimoto’s spirit of service and friendship continues to perpetuate inspiration to the Pearl City community today and for generations to come.
The newly installed Breene Harimoto Manana Community Park sign will forever stand as a shining testament and reminder for the dedication, commitment, and contributions that Senator Harimoto generously served his community as a Board of Education Board Member, Honolulu City Councilman, Hawaii State Senator, Executive Director of the Pearl City Foundation, community leader, and Mana Loa Lions Club member.
He was a champion for the community, and as the co-founder and Executive Director of the Pearl City Foundation, Breene welcomed Pearl City residents, their ohana, community organizations, schools, and visitors to the heart and soul (gathering place) of the Pearl City community, the Momilani Community Center.
Led by Pearl City Foundation Board member and Treasurer Alice Kudo, who spearheaded the Breene Harimoto Manana Community Park sign planning and financing committee, along with PCF President Jerry Higashi, PCF Secretary Jits Fujimura, and PCF Director Naomi Tully-Ungacta, the PCF team worked with then Honolulu City Councilman Brandon Elefante to bring the sign dedication project to a reality. The Pearl City Foundation sponsored the construction and installation of the Breene Harimoto Manana Community Park sign with a $13,000 donation to cover all costs. The Honolulu City and County Department of Parks and Recreation constructed and installed the sign.
Currently as a State Senator representing Pearl City, Senator Elefante had the honor of serving as emcee for last Friday’s Breene Harimoto Manana Community Park sign dedication ceremony. Current Honolulu City Councilmember Val Okimoto who represents Pearl City spoke on behalf of her office with appreciation to Senator Harimoto’s heartfelt service to the community, as well as congratulatory words of appreciation to Senator Harimoto’s wife Cheryl and the Harimoto ohana.
Senator Harimoto’s spirit will be always with us in the community where he worked and volunteered tirelessly to make a difference to better the lives of everyone he touched. He introduced me to serving and volunteering in the Pearl City community by inviting me to join both the Pearl City Foundation and the Pearl City Community Association where we served together for several years as board members and friends. He taught me, through his actions, how to successfully serve the community while expecting nothing in return.
Senator Harimoto epitomized an extreme passion to live within yourself with the satisfaction of knowing and experiencing the difference that by giving from your heart and soul to others, we all can make a profound impact while brightening their spirits with smiles of appreciation that will forever be a part of caring for neighbors, friends, and their ohana in our wonderful and happy Pearl City community.
Mahalo to Pastor Norman Nakanishi, Founder, Pearlside Church, for his inspiring blessing of the Breene Harimoto Manana Community Park sign dedication ceremony. Mahalo to others mentioned below who also attended the sign dedication ceremony:
Laura Thielen, Director, Honolulu City and County Department of Parks and Recreation
Managers, Honolulu City and County Department of Parks and Recreation
Sam Moku, Chief of Staff, Mayor Rick Blangiardi
Senator Brandon Elefante
Senator Henry Aquino
Representative Gregg Takayama
Representative Cory Chun
Honolulu City Councilmember Val Okimoto
Honolulu City Councilmember Radient Cordero
Pastor Jerry Higashi, President, Pearl City Foundation
Tad Tsuruma, President, Pearl City Lions Club
(my apologies for not mentioning and missing anyone who also attended the park sign ceremony)
A very special mahalo to Cheryl Harimoto and the Harimoto ohana. Also, to Cheryl’s granddaughter for her beautiful words as she expressed her appreciation to all in attendance while celebrating her grandpa’s legacy at the sign dedication ceremony.
God Bless Senator Harimoto…
Video and Photos by Barry Villamil | MyPearlCity.com