Richard Taffe, Director of West Hawaii Community Health Center and Senator Josh Green provide a tribute to Loretta Fuddy, followed by a moment of silence. Visionary Video
Hawaii 24/7 Staff
Family, friends and coworkers from Honolulu to Washington, D.C. paid tribute Thursday to Loretta Fuddy, the state Department of Health director who died Wednesday afternoon in a small plane crash off Molokai.
Family members gathered Thursday with DOH employees and Gov. Neil Abercrombie to honor Fuddy, who they described as “selfless, without pretense and completely and totally dedicated” to her work.
Fuddy, 65, was born in Kaimuki and graduated from Sacred Hearts Academy. She held degrees in social work and public health from the University of Hawaii and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
She served in the health and human services field for 30 years and was named deputy health director in 2002.
Fuddy had served as the state health director since March 2011 and briefly was in the national spotlight when she verified the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
Among the tributes Thursday, Sen. Josh Green and Richard Taaffe, West Hawaii Community Health Center director, led a moment of silence during blessing of the site for the future West Hawaii Community Health Center – Kealakehe.
(Video courtesy of Visionary Video)
Coast Guard transports passengers to medical care
The Coast Guard transported three passengers to Emergency Medical Services after a plane crashed Wednesday in the ocean approximately one mile off Kalaupapa, Molokai.
Coast Guard watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center received report of a plane crash with nine passengers aboard at 3:27 p.m. Wednesday.
The Coast Guard launched two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews and one HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu.
Coast Guard Cutters Ahi and Galveston Island, home-ported in Honolulu, and two 45-foot Response-Boat Medium crews from Coast Guard Station Maui were also dispatched to the scene.
Rescue swimmers from the Dolphin helicopters were deployed, rescuing three passengers in the water. Maui Fire Rescue rescued additional passengers.
Three people were transported by Dolphin helicopter crews to Honolulu for emergency medical services. Two people were transported by a Makani Kai company plane to Honolulu and the rest of the passengers remained on Molokai.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie Statement
Gov. Neil Abercrombie shared the following statement regarding the passing of Hawaii Department of Health Director Loretta Deliana Fuddy after speaking with her family:
“Our hearts are broken. Loretta was deeply loved and respected. She was selfless, utterly dedicated, and committed to her colleagues in the Department of Health and to the people of Hawaii. Her knowledge was vast; her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience.
“We send our best thoughts to her family and will do all in our power to reflect her professionalism, her love of Hawaii and the high standard she set for herself and all of us.”
Sen. Brian Schatz Statement
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz released condolences upon the passing of Hawaii State Health Department Director Loretta Fuddy, who was killed in a Makani Kai commuter airplane crash off Kalaupapa. The eight other passengers, including the pilot, survived.
“Loretta Fuddy was one of the finest, most capable, and most caring public servants I have ever known. This is a sad day for Hawaii. My condolences and aloha go to Loretta’s ohana and the Hawaii Department of Health family. Loretta was one of the very best.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard released the following statement on the passing of State Health Director Loretta Fuddy.
“Loretta dedicated her life to improving the well-being and health of Hawaii’s people, and we are grateful for her decades of selfless service to others. She was a fierce advocate for our keiki and kupuna, working for more than 37 years to create a safe and healthy environment for our residents. While serving in the Honolulu City Council, I was grateful to be able to work closely with Loretta to alleviate the threat of dengue fever and radioactive contamination from the Japanese tsunami; more recently, we had been collaborating to help Hawaii veterans with water catchment systems qualify for VA loans. I am deeply saddened by her untimely passing, and my sincere condolences go out to her loved ones during this difficult time.”
Sen. J. Kalani English Statement
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs J. Kalani English (District 7- Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe), issued the following statement after learning of the plane crash off the shore of Kalaupapa on Molokai.
“I was deeply saddened to hear of the plane crash off the coast of Kalaupapa this evening and extend my most heartfelt sympathy and concerns to those who were aboard the Makani Kai aircraft. As we continue to monitor the situation, our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those who were on board, and with the people of Molokai.”
“We are grateful for those who bravely responded to the crash and for their continued commitment to protecting Hawaii and those who visit our state. The safety of our traveling public is highly important to us. For those traveling to and from Molokai I want to reassure you that services to Kalaupapa will continue.”
“On behalf of the State of Hawaii, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the individual who lost their life today.”
Speaker Joseph Souki Statement
Speaker Joseph M. Souki shared the following statement on the passing of Health Director Loretta Fuddy:
“Director Fuddy was a dedicated public servant with a passion for public health. She led with grace during difficult times, always rising to the challenge, and remaining focused on improving the health of all in the community. She was especially passionate about the most vulnerable in our communities, a champion for mothers, newborns, and early childhood care. Her warm, caring spirit for the people of Hawaii will truly be missed.”
Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald Statement
“The passing of Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy is a tragic loss. She was a tremendously dedicated individual who worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Hawaii. My deepest condolences go out to her family and the Department of Health ohana.”
Senior Family Court Judge Mark Browning Statement
“On behalf of family court and all our judges and staff, we are deeply saddened by Director Fuddy’s passing. She was a person of compassion, caring and love- who dedicated her life to improving the lives of children and families. She was an inspiration to many, including myself, and we will try our best to work towards continuing her legacy.”
Early Learning Community Statement
The Early Learning Advisory Board and Executive Office on Early Learning shared the following statement regarding the passing of Hawaii Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy:
“Members of the early learning community in Hawaii are mourning the tragic loss of Loretta Fuddy, director of the Department of Health.
“As co-chair of the Early Learning Advisory Board, Loretta kept us focused on our keiki and their health needs as the foundation for successful learning. She worked tirelessly to assist the underserved in our community, particularly mothers, newborns, and our youngest children.
“Loretta’s contributions to the cause of children and their families in Hawaii will be sorely missed.
“The Early Learning Advisory Board and Executive Office on Early Learning send their sincere condolences to her family and honor the legacy she has left us.”