The Samaritan Counseling Center Hawaii presented its 2016 Ho‘omenemene Award to Project Dana and the late Jolene Kim Gerell at its awards banquet on May 1 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i.

The dinner banquet opened with an oli chant by Lehua Matsuoka and words of welcome from Andy Bates, president of the Samaritan Counseling Center’s board of directors, and R.J. Ross, president of the Samaritan Institute. Ross noted that being a Samaritan means “respecting you as a fellow human being, meeting you wherever you are and treating you the way we want to be treated.”

Bates presented the award to Project Dana executive director and co-founder Rose Nakamura and Project Dana Advisory Council past chair Martha Samson, recognizing the invaluable services its volunteers provide in the community. Project Dana volunteers provide a variety of services to frail and disabled elders and their families, including friendly visits, respite services, transportation assistance, visits by phone and light home repair work — all performed in the Buddhist spirit of dana, or selfless giving. Project Dana took flight in 1990 from the Moiliili Hongwanji Mission. Today, it an interfaith organization with 19 programs on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Island, Maui and Kaua‘i.

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