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Labor Day 2014 Message from Executive Director Randy Perreira

September 02, 2014

Chicken skin. That is exactly what I felt when I recently spent some time on my home island of Hawaii to assist in the effort to support those affected by Tropical Storm Iselle. To see the outpouring of support from the community, and in particular our Big Island HGEA members, was an overwhelming experience for me. It started with the calls and emails from Big Island members offering donations for the storm victims in Puna. So many came forward in such generous ways — it touched my heart to see our members reach out to those in need.
Then, as I joined our HGEA members and staff in serving hot meals, and distributing water, juice and ice to the Puna residents, I was equally moved by how quickly and willingly our members volunteered their time and physical strength to help.  It was more touching to see the gratitude of the residents, many of whom would turn down free goods, saying, "We have enough — save it for someone who really needs it."
My pride in leading HGEA grew even greater, knowing one of our Big Island staff, Bernice Goodness-Viveiros, was in Puna every day helping her fellow neighbors — despite the fact that her own house was without power and downed albizia trees littered her yard. Seeing Bernice and her husband Nate, a UPW member, working alongside the volunteers just reinforced my belief that our HGEA members and
staff are truly the best.
Finally, I cannot say enough about our HGEA and UPW members who are Hawaii County and State employees. They spent countless hours in Puna, clearing roads and ensuring that residents received necessary supplies and assistance throughout this ordeal. Too often we take for granted the work that these employees do — but I for one am proud to recognize what they did, and even prouder to say that HGEA stepped into action as our Big Island community responded to the crisis created by Iselle. Chicken skin indeed — together with a pride that I will feel forever.
As we celebrate Labor Day, please let me commend ALL of you for the valuable service that you provide to our community.  You and the HGEA stand tall. You are proof positive that the American Labor Movement is alive and well, servicing our communities, and demonstrating a boundless dedication to the good of all.
In solidarity,
Randy Perreira

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