Our Islands, Our Future

05-23-12 Bill KinakaWailuku attorney Bill Kinaka donated his first pint of blood more than 20 years ago. He did so by brushing aside his fear of blood and sharp needles. He said he focused on the appeal that he was supporting: a blood drive for a young child with leukemia. “I was so afraid the first time but I couldn’t say no,” Kinaka recalled recently. He said his experience with the Blood Bank of Hawaii was painless and now he looks forward to every time he gets to donate. “It’s become so automatic for me.”

The Blood Bank of Hawaii distinguishes Kinaka as a century donor because he has given more than 100 pints of blood. Kinaka’s also helped collect 481 pints of blood and recruited 30 first-time donors, enough to save 1,443 lives, according to the Blood Bank’s estimates. “Bill is not only a century donor, he’s also a volunteer recruiter,” said Aaron Knapp, director of Donor Services for the Blood Bank of Hawaii. “Bill goes the extra mile, he goes above and beyond.” Depending on his work schedule, Kinaka will wear a shirt with the Blood Bank of Hawaii logo and carry with him written information about how to make a donation. “As soon as people ask, they’re trapped. … I’m a walking billboard for the Blood Bank.”

Separate from his Blood Bank support, Kinaka has volunteered for more than 30 years as a board member for Maui Adult Day Care Center, and Hale Mahaolu, a nonprofit that owns and manages low and moderate-income unit housing for the elderly and families. Kinaka, an Eagle Scout, said he vowed as a youngster growing up in Lahaina that he would do something to fight discrimination and honor the county’s senior citizens. “People didn’t used to give them much care or thought yet they are the people that made the community what it is today.” He said he’s very proud of the Maui Adult Day Care Center’s programs and the national recognition Hale Mahaolu has received for its housing projects.