PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The historical town of Lahaina was a cultural landmark of the Hawaiian islands — now destroyed by wildfires.
KOIN 6 News spoke to people who once lived there that are finding ways to help.
It’s part of a natural instinct for people who were born on Maui or had lived there — to give back and be able to help — especially when hundreds of businesses and homes have been destroyed and dozens of lives lost.
“I worry about the people I know there,” said Michelle Wachsmuth, owner of Dan & Louis Oyster Bar.
“(There’s) a deep sadness looking at all the pictures and remembering what shops were there and going through being there,” added Jensen Yip, owner of 808 Grinds, whose parents live in Maui. “Lahaina will never be the same.”
Guy Taniguchi grew up north of Lahaina and says he’s grieving the destruction.
“I’ve felt really sad for not only the history but for all the people who have lost homes and lost lives,” he said. “Not knowing the families I know made it, who didn’t make it, who is still missing. That is stressful still.”
Now, Yip and Waschmuth are using their businesses to give back. Waschmuth’s business will be part of the Ankeny Alley Luau, where people can support the Hawaiian Community Foundation, Salvation Army and Lahai Foundation.
“The Hawaii community here, they all stick together as well. They all support each other,” Yip said.
“There is a need to give back. As Americans, we took over these islands, we need to help them now. Now is when they need our help and now we need to give back,” Wachsmuth added.