Honoring Our Heroes

Thanksgiving is coming early again this year, with the upcoming Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation Awards Dinner and Silent Auction on August 30th at the Fairmont Orchid. We are so grateful to call Frank Sayre a member of our Board of Directors and we say mahalo to all the firefighters, rescue specialists and lifeguards who risk their lives on a continual basis to save other people's lives. Hear some of the incredible stories in this article, which are a teaser to the talk story event at the end of the month.

From the Source: 

"The Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation was named after Laura Mallery-Sayre and Frank Sayre’s son 17 years ago. They told the Rotary members how in 1997, a day or two before their son, Dan, was leaving for college, he decided to go for a hike to one of his favorite spots in Pololu Valley near Kapaloa Falls. He fell from the side of the cliff, and it took a day and a half until he was located. He was so far into the valley that the rescue turned into a 10-hour operation.

As the rescue team was called off for the day, David Okita, helicopter pilot, came to help. The firefighters all volunteered to stay, and two were lowered in to the valley to reach the 25-year-old in a dangerous rescue in the dense forest – with the helicopter blades shredding trees during the attempt. When rescue workers finally reached Dan, the Sayres were told that their son hadn’t survived.

Mallery-Sayre said that watching the men in action and seeing their compassion and commitment firsthand in the couple’s greatest hour of need, spurred the Sayres to find a way to thank the rescuers. They found there was no formal way for them to recognize the men who had risked their lives.

The Sayres also learned that better equipment could have made their son’s rescue much safer and easier for the firefighters.

“The reason they had to risk their lives was because they didn’t have ropes that were long enough to reach Dan,” Mallery-Sayre said. 'It was amazing to us that with the terrain on the island that they didn’t have that sort of thing.'"

"'We started the foundation in 1997 with a dual purpose – to honor the men and women that went above and beyond the call of duty and to raise money to protect and save us and to protect and save themselves,' Frank Sayre told the group.

'How do you ever thank someone enough for risking their life … or volunteering to stay?' Mallery-Sayre said. 'That is one of the things that keeps me fired up every year. If we can save one life, then our efforts are all worthwhile.'"

  Above: "The Sayres pose with members of the Rotary Club of North Hawaii after a weekly meeting on Aug. 13." (Credit - Lisa M. Dahm/NHN)

Above: "The Sayres pose with members of the Rotary Club of North Hawaii after a weekly meeting on Aug. 13." (Credit - Lisa M. Dahm/NHN)