Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Wilson is doing something greater than himself by Serving His Country

Harold Wilson

When I was in graduate school at the University of Hawaii Manoa, more than 40 years ago, I lived in a wooden duplex on the side of Punchbowl and made friends with my neighbors, Herman and Dorothy Wilson.

The Wilson’s were an older couple and from time to time they would take care of their grandson who was an active little toddler.

This toddler would scamper around the area as he enjoyed a variety of make believe games, which included playing ‘army’.

Last year at the Veteran’s Day 5K in Hilo an active duty National Guardsman, stationed at the Pohakuloa Training Area came up to me and asked a surprising statement.

“I think you knew my grandparents,” he said.

To my astonishment, standing before me was a grown man who looked to be in top shape, by the name of Harold ‘Mokuahi’ Wilson.

His grandparents have since passed, but their legacy was standing before me and preparing to walk to the starting line and challenge me in a 3.1 mile race.

Growing up Wilson played and fell in love with baseball, which he got from his grandfather and father, who both stayed active with community league softball well into their later year.

“I loved doing outdoor activities as I came from a baseball family and I played little league,” Wilson said.  “I did lots of stuff outdoors and as a child I like to play ‘Army.’

His love for playing Army evolved into the real thing as he enlisted in the United States Marine Corp in 1994 and switched to the Hawaii Army National Guard in 1998 to present.

“I want to do something greater than myself,” Wilson said.  “I want to serve my country and be the best of the best.”

Alicia and Harold

Wilson knew that the military would challenge him and has devoted nearly two decades to service.

“I knew that the Corp would challenge me more than I have ever been challenged and my love for running started in the Marines,” he said.

Wilson is a Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard on Active Orders at Pohakuloa Training Area.

“I’ve served multiple tours to Iraq with a light infantry scout platoon,” Wilson said.  “The most difficult part of deployments is being away from my family.”

When not on deployment Wilson likes to work out in the nearest gym as he gets in a good sweat.

“Running has always been my best way to deal with stress and after a good run my focus seems clearer,” he said. 

At the Veterans Day 3.1 mile run Wilson encouraged several of his fellow soldiers to come out and run including his wife Alicia and their 10 year old son Austin.

“I am a self motivator and I love to motivate others, “he said.  “If you can motivate then anything can be accomplished.”

Wilson also has a home gym and at work at PTA there are three fully functional gyms.

“My home has a variety of weights, sit up bar, heavy bag,  speed bag, free standing bag for kicking as I like to mix it up to maximize muscle confusion,” Wilson said.  “Besides these I maintain pushups and sit ups to meet Army standards.”

Wilson Family at 5K event

Wilson knew that the military would challenge him and has devoted nearly two decades to service.

“I knew that the Corp would challenge me more than I have ever been challenged and my love for running started in the Marines,” he said.

Wilson is a Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard on Active Orders at Pohakuloa Training Area.

“I’ve served multiple tours to Iraq with a light infantry scout platoon,” Wilson said.  “The most difficult part of deployments is being away from my family.”

When not on deployment Wilson likes to work out in the nearest gym as he gets in a good sweat.

“Running has always been my best way to deal with stress and after a good run my focus seems clearer,” he said. 

At the Veterans Day 3.1 mile run Wilson encouraged several of his fellow soldiers to come out and run including his wife Alicia and their 10 year old son Austin.

“I am a self motivator and I love to motivate others, “he said.  “If you can motivate then anything can be accomplished.”

Wilson also has a home gym and at work at PTA there are three fully functional gyms.

“My home has a variety of weights, sit up bar, heavy bag,  speed bag, free standing bag for kicking as I like to mix it up to maximize muscle confusion,” Wilson said.  “Besides these I maintain pushups and sit ups to meet Army standards.”

Wilson also runs at PTA where the air is thin and makes it more difficult to move.

“It’s a real challenge to run at Pohakuloa due to the high elevation,” he said.  “I’m in no way a body builder or marathon runner, but I am looked up to and always strive to serve as a role model for my soldiers.”

“Being in the military gives me a good reason to take care of myself,” Wilson said. “I strive to not only push myself but the soldiers I serve with.”

A 1989 graduate of Waiakea High School, Wilson is married and has five children and just days before this interview he turned 41 years of age.

“With all the stress of being in the military, I find that running and exercising is a good way to deal with that stress,” Wilson said.

I’ve made some adjustments to my diet and have switch from white to brown rice,” he said.  I try to avoid sweets and eat lots of greens.”

When a hunger attack hits, Wilson will curb that void by eating some almonds or having a triscuit with tuna and lettuce.

“My favorite dinner would be a quarter pound of poke with about a half cup of brown rice,” he said.  “For drinks it’s water and 100 percent pink grapefruit juice.”

Wilson’s overall goal is to lose some weight and when he does overeat he will get out and push himself a little harder the next day.

Alicia and I made New Year Resolution’s to improve our overall health,” Wilson said.  “Alicia is giving up smoking and I’m giving up beer!”

The Wilson’s have made a pact to help each other quit their bad habits and they try to motivate each other in a positive direction.

“The kids help keep an eye on mom and they will let me know if she is about to smoke,” he said with a grin. 

I’m sure that Harold ‘Mokuahi’ Wilson’s grandparents are watching over him and they are smiling and proud to see the man that he has turned into.

And someday should you happen to see a Vietnam Veteran jogging through the streets of East Hawaii remember to smile, say ‘woof’ and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”    Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

January 30, 2012 - Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. What a wonderful story.
    I am sure your grandparents are very proud of all your accomplishments.
    You have made them very proud.
    Thank you for sharing your story and being a role model for others.

    Comment by Tom | January 30, 2012 | Reply


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