Two longtime members of the CTAHR ‘ohana are leaving for fresh adventures. Naomi Kanehiro, an Extension agent in Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences; and Nestor Dela Cruz, an agricultural technician at the Urban Garden Center, have dedicated their careers to CTAHR and will be missed.
Naomi headed the local Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP), a highly successful program that helps limited-resource families gain knowledge and skills, and change attitudes and behavior to improve the nutritional well-being of the whole family. EFNEP has been going strong in Hawai‘i for more than 50 years, and Naomi is a big part of its success.
Naomi was honored with the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Extension at CTAHR’s 2015 Annual Banquet for her exceptional program management and skill at community outreach. Also lauded were her in-depth understanding of community dynamics and the cultural nuances of diverse ethnic groups, and her sincere desire to help families in Hawai‘i.
Nestor, who officially retired on April 30 after 34 years of service, was an equipment operator at the UGC and a graduate of the US Army Administrative School. With all the orchards, earthworks, and structures that must be maintained at the Urban Garden Center, heavy equipment is crucial, as is someone with the know-how to fix it when something goes wrong!
An informal get-together—in accordance with CDC recommendations, of course!—was organized for Nestor by 20 UGC volunteers who worked with him every week. Instead of hugging him, they placed a lei in a heart shape on a table, and the volunteers made heart shapes with their fingers to show their appreciation for his unfailing service.