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YWCA Hawai’i Island Honors “Auntie Dottie” Thompson

MEDIA RELEASE

Celebration for “Sweetheart of Hilo”

Luana Kawelu (left), Mayor Billy Kenoi and Auntie Dottie Thompson. Mayor Kenoi proclaimed Saturday, February 13th "Auntie Dottie Thompson Day."

Hilo, HI [February 13, 2010] – Dorothy “Auntie Dottie” Thompson was honored as this year’s YWCA Hawai’i Island Remarkable Person on Saturday, February 13. Citing her longstanding leadership of the Merrie Monarch Festival, YWCA President Lorraine Godoy said, “Auntie Dottie’s gift of vision, honor of culture, and devotion to preserving our traditions have been unselfishly shared with the people of Hawai’i and beyond. Auntie Dottie has enriched our cultural, artistic, and business spheres and united our community through this singular event.”

During the event, held at the YWCA’s community hall, Auntie Dottie’s picture was added to the YWCA “Remarkable People” honoree wall – named Kealohanohano, which means in the presence of the honored and dignified. She was also presented with a special memory book of stories, pictures, mementoes, and heartfelt sentiments that the YWCA had gathered from people whose lives she has touched. One such selection from Paul Tallett reads, “The most memorable [moment] is – seeing you each year at the Merrie Monarch Festival for the past 46 years, with your white hat, colorful leis and bright smile sharing your aloha to all…. Your courage to take on the …festival when no one else wanted to do it is remarkable. You gave hula a true Hawaiian cultural vision…, a class act, that is ever growing.”

YWCA Board Member Sandi Claveira dances the hula for Auntie Dottie Thompson.

Mayor Billy Kenoi issued a County of Hawai’i proclamation declaring the day “Dottie Thompson Day” and remarked, “Dottie, because of you and all the blood, sweat, tears, and love you poured into Merrie Monarch for over the last 40 years, you have put Hilo on the map and spread the warm spirit of aloha to people from all over the world.”

Over 100 family members and close friends joined in the celebration. Pupus were prepared or donated by community members, YWCA Board members, and YWCA staff. Donations were also provided by: Jennifer and Kyle Kaaa of K3A Productions for the sound system and slide show; U’i Soares for the decorations; Kawamoto Store for prepared food; Lena Abe for making ti leaf leis; and Joe Camacho, Paulette Ching, and Clayton Kua for providing the live music. David Corrigan of Big Island Video News filmed the event.

Dr. Ruben Casile presenting a lei to Auntie Dottie Thompson

YWCA Hawai’i Island is a not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is the elimination of racism and empowerment of women. Established in 1919, the organization offers services and programs which include: a nationally accredited preschool; an aquatics center; the only island-wide 24×7 rape crisis center; the only Teen Court for the Big Island; and the only home visitation child abuse prevention and family support program throughout East Hawai’i.

The YWCA Hawai’i Island is part of the YWCA USA, the oldest and largest national women’s organization. Nationally, the YWCA serves 2.5 million women and girls each year. Globally, the YWCA USA is a member of World YWCA, which has affiliates in 122 countries that serve 25 million women and girls worldwide.

For more information about the YWCA, visit www.ywcahawaiiisland.org Contact: Gloria Lau, Interim CEO at 808 987-1850 or glau@ywcahawaiiisland.org YWCA Hawai’i Island, 145 Ululani St., Hilo, HI 96720.

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