Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Sports Hall of Fame Photos Return to PKP

Big Island Sports Hall of Fame - 114 photos at PKP

   After more than two years and a cost of several thousand dollars all 114 photos belonging to inductees of the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame have returned to grace the walls of the Prince Kuhio Plaza.

  The 144-square-foot wall space next to Macy’s Men Shop and across from IHOP is the new home for those inductees. Then on Saturday, May 22 at 10:30 am there will be a special dedication.

   “We’re hoping we can locate and notify all 114 of the inductees and their families to have them join us for this special dedication,” BISHF chair Jerry Chang said.

   The BISHF photos were part of the plaza for nearly eight years before mall management decided to sell the wall space in February 2008, leaving the Hall of Fame without a home.

  For over two years the photos and plaques honoring Big Island sports volunteers, which had a combined 4,000 years of community service, needed to be placed into storage.

  “We had to have some of the photos redone,” BISHF treasurer Ellsworth Fontes said.  “All the photos had to be remounted onto new 4’x8’ boards then mounted onto the plaza wall.”

  Fontes estimates that the refurbishing of the photos and boards cost the BISHF committee $3,500 and that the job still isn’t complete.

  “We had some volunteers, Wilfred and Wendell Miyazu and Dwayne Iwashita, help with the installation of the panel board, but we still need to buy some Plexiglas and have that installed over the photos on the bottom half of the wall to prevent tampering,” Fontes said.

   With the monthly cost to PKP for rental of wall space and the growing cost of installing and maintain the photos the BISHF board has needed to go out and solicit donations from major sponsors.

   Several prominent businessmen and companies have stepped forward to help with the cost.  Ken Fujiyama has donated $2,000 and Pat Aiona $1,000 along with the Big Island International Marathon $500 donation the BISHF was still short of their first year goal.

   “Fortunately KTA’s Barry Taniguchi has agreed to be the major sponsor and they will donate $5,000 per year to help maintain the Wall of Fame,” Chang said.

  The BISHF had entered into an agreement with Plaza management to rent the wall space, starting from this past January, for $260.41 per month and the rent along with the cost of maintaining the photos made it necessary for Chang and the board to find monetary sponsors.

   “For KTA we always believe in athletics as it teaches our youth teamwork,” KTA Executive Vice President Derek Kurisu said.

   “Every one of these men and women in the Hall of Fame has the values that our youth should learn and know,” Kurisu said.  “The inductees are all local athletes with local values and we should never forget those who built the foundations to our community.”

   After the dedication of the new wall on May 22 the BISHF will start accepting applications for its next class of inductees and has selected Derek Shigematsu to chair that committee.

  “We will be looking for those residents who have spent a minimum of 20 years as an athlete, coach or official in sports,” Shigematsu said.  “Preference will be given to those individuals that were amateurs or volunteers and they must have exhibited strong character and discipline in the sport for which they are nominated.”

   Nominations for the new class of inductees will be accepted until July 1 with the Installation Banquet scheduled for mid-August.  For more information call Shigematsu at 315-1400 or email waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

   “We’re also encouraging all those inductees or their surviving family members to provide us with contact information so that we can include them in all future events that we have,” Chang said. 

   “We also want to establish a historical data base and a web page so that we can collect and keep this information well into the future,” board member Wendell Kaehuaea said.  “We will begin the process of digitizing the photos and contact with inductees and their families are important for us to insure that all the information collected is accurate.”

   Hall of Fame inductees and/or their family members are encouraged to call 969-7400 or email waiakeabigdog@aol.com with their contact information.

   Donations may also be made to Big Island Sports Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 11211, Hilo, Hawaii 96721.

  The late Jack Matsui was the founder of the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame.

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Island Sports Hall of Fame returning to PKP

Jerry Chang, Kimberly Shimabuku and Ellsworth Fontes sign contract

Jerry Chang, Kimberly Shimabuku and Ellsworth Fontes sign contract

Photos of more than 100 inductees into the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame will return to the Prince Kuhio Plaza after nearly two years in storage.

    Plans are under way to rededicate a 12’x12’ wall space next to Macy’s Men Shop and across from IHOP in early January with a formal ceremony.  It will be followed a few months later with a new class of inductees.

     The photos of that illustrious group graced the wall of PKP for nearly 8 years before management decided to sell the wall space in February ’08, leaving the Sports Hall of Fame without a home.

    Since that time the photo’s and plaque’s commemorating more than 4,000 years of community service to the Big Island sports community had been placed into storage and in some cases has resulted in mildew damage.

   Over the past six months a group of community volunteers, spearhead by Jerry Chang, state House representative, has meet on a regular basis to bring the photos back for public viewing.

   “I was present at a meeting between board members, Ellsworth Fontes and Ken Fujiyama when they were discussing re-activating the (BISHofF) committee and new leadership,” Chang said.

   “(Fujiyama) made the suggestion that I would be a good candidate because of my long standing relationship with founder Jack Matsui and the sports community on the Big Island,” Chang said.

   Chang volunteered to head the first organizational meeting in order to kick start the process and a new board was selected this past May.

   Chang was selected to serve as the committee’s president with vice president, Pat Aiona, Sr. and Fontes continues to serve as treasurer.  Other board members include Fujiyama, Derek Shigematsu, Brian Iwata, Cora Lee Matsui, Wendell Kaehuaea and Dr. Ernest Bade.

Fontes holds plans to return photo's to wall of fame
Fontes holds plans to return photo’s to wall of fame

Kimberly Shimabuku, general manager at PKP, had also contacted the mall’s owners, General Growth Properties, to provide the BISHofF organization with a special non-profit cost for wall rental space.

    “Each contract for rental in the Plaza goes through the appropriate department committee for approval,” Shimabuku said.

   Shimabuku also explained the process for removing the photo’s from the free wall space.  “We approached Mr. Matsui regarding the need for a sponsor for the wall, although a specific price was not discussed.  A notification letter was sent and the pictures were removed in February 2008 after approximately 18 months of working with Mr. Matsui to find a sponsor or another suitable home,” she said.

   Shimabuku acknowledges PKP’s support for the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame, but says, “Business conditions were such that we need sponsorship for the space.  The Board of Directors has found that sponsorship and GGP was willing to extend a discounted rate.”

   “PKP has asked us to pay $250 per month (plus an additional $10.41 per month in taxes) and we were able to get several $500 donation commitments from various people and community organizations so that we can insure the first year of wall space,” Chang said.

   Chang, along with Clift Tsuji, Dennis “Fresh” Onishi,  and the Big Island International Marathon have all made verbal commitments to the BISHofF committee to help pay for the first year of wall space at the mall.

   Jack Matsui came up with the idea of the BISHofF in a dream that came to him one morning.  “I just woke up from a dream one morning and the idea of recognizing some of the older people in our community came to me,” Matsui said in an previous interview.

   Matsui, 86, is the founder of many sports organizations throughout the island which includes the Big Island Athlete of the Month, Big Island Sports Person of the Year, and several boxing organization.

    “I have known Jack (Matsui) since I was 10 years old.  He was my first coach for boxing with the Hilo Boys Club and he was my basketball and baseball coach for Hukilau (Restaurant) Athletic Club,” Chang said.

   The BISHofF is now in the process of getting a federal non-profit status with the help of County Corporation Counsel Attorney, Joseph Kamelamela and CPA, Brian Iwata, contributing pro-bono on the application process.

   “We expect to get our 501 (3) (c) status by the end of this year,” Chang said.  “In the meantime we need to raise additional money to pay for the damage done to the plaques and photo’s while they were in storage and to help pay for the cost of our next inductee class which will be in early 2010.

   The new contract is only for one year which runs from January 1 to December 31, 2010, at which time PKP will reevaluate its agreement with the BISHofF.

    “For this type of agreement our maximum term is one year.  After a year we hope to see a renewal of sponsorship for the wall,” Shimabuku said.

    In the meantime, anyone who would like to help with the BISHofF to preserve and honor those that have contributed so much to sports here on the Big Island can make a check out to Big Island Sports Hall of Fame and mail it to P.O. Box 11211, Hilo, Hawaii 96721.


October 16, 2009 Posted by | Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment