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HGEA Offers Wildfire Relief for Affected Members

October 12, 2023

Following the devastating wildfires that ravaged Lahaina and Kula, the board of directors for the Hawaii Government Employees Association approved the use of $100,000 in relief funds to go to members who were directly impacted.

Affected members last week began receiving the funds, which amount to $500 for active and retired members and $250 for associate members. The relief program is in addition to support from our affiliate unions. Both the Hawaii State AFL-CIO’s Employees Lifeline Program and AFSCME’s Fallen Heroes Fund have distributed $250 gift cards to affected union members.

“Many of our members have lost their homes, cars and their way of life,” said Randy Perreira, executive director of HGEA. “Our members are the lifeblood of our union, and we want them to know we stand with them as they recover from this tragedy.”

Ginet Hayes, HGEA board president, thanked her fellow board members for their leadership in approving money to be used for wildfire relief.

“We hope these funds provide a little relief during such a difficult time,” Hayes said.

Jeri Dean, vice principal at King Kekaulike High School and a Unit 6 member, was traveling in Seattle, taking one of her kids to college, when news came that her beloved town of Lahaina was ablaze.

“I soon realized the magnitude of the devastation,” said Dean, who lost her home. “My children – thank God – were safe. And fortunately, we were able to tap into home insurance and get access to rental money. But so many are still trying to find housing.”

Dean said HGEA’s Maui staff reached out immediately, which she valued. “I want to say I appreciate HGEA for seeing us as individuals who need a certain kind of support right now.”

Impacted Maui members are also invited to “shop” the Maui Island Division office’s store of household goods and supplies, much of which came from donations by AFL-CIO in Los Angeles. If you were impacted and have not filed your request, check your inbox for an email from Toni Rust, Maui island division chief.

You can help union members on Maui with much-needed assistance. Here’s how:

Donate to the Hawaii State AFL-CIO's Hawaii Employees Lifeline Program. This fund supports union ohana on Maui with critical emergency assistance. You can make checks payable to the “Hawaii Employees Lifeline Program,” and send to:

Hawaii State AFL-CIO, Attn: Cathy Lederer
888 Mililani Street, Suite 501
Honolulu, HI 96813

Support AFSCME's Fallen Heroes Fund. The International Union created the Fallen Heroes Fund to help AFSCME ohana who have suffered losses due to natural disasters. Every donation made will support union members affected by the wildfires. Donate today.

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