HOLLYWOOD, FL – GAWDA President Robert Anders’ sent the following email to GAWDA Members this week to ensure we are all in support of the Island of Maui as we prepare for our Annual Convention in Wailea, Maui, October 1-4, 2023.
|August 14, 2023
Dear GAWDA Members,
News has been pouring in about the devastation and loss of life in the historic town of Lahaina. In an ABC News Interview last Friday, Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen expressed his determination to rebuild and his gratitude for the overwhelming support and offers of assistance that have poured in from all corners.
Yesterday, the Hawai’i Visitors & Convention Bureau wrote “In the weeks ahead, the collective resources and attention of the federal, state and county government, and the West Maui community, are focused on the recovery of residents who were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses. The devastation in Lahaina is immense and unprecedented. The extent of the damage affecting residents, families and area businesses has yet to be fully understood.”
In a communication with GAWDA staff yesterday, the Grand Wailea management team said they are fully operational, and all their team members are accounted for and safe. They anticipate that they will be getting more applications for jobs in the coming weeks with the displacement of businesses in Lahaina. The Resort, its owners, and team members are planning for the best ways they can help their Maui Ohana (Family) in need. The culture and people of Maui are strong.
Tourism accounts for 80% of the island’s economy. With our meeting taking place 7 weeks from now, the economic impact of our meeting will be a welcome relief for the residents of Maui. The GAWDA Annual Convention contributes almost $2,000,000 to the local economy. This support will undoubtedly play a crucial role in aiding their recovery and healing efforts.
Many members have reached out to our leadership and staff asking for guidance on how they can help the Maui community affected by the wildfires. The Malama Family Recovery Center, this year’s GAWDA Gives Back recipient, will offer vital support to the local community as they navigate through the aftermath of this ordeal.
For those of you who wish to contribute to a charity that has been set up to support communities directly affected by the wildfires, the Hawai’i Tourism Authority has recommended the following charity:
The Maui Strong Fund was created to provide community resilience with resources for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. The fund is currently being used to support communities affected by the wildfires on Maui.
We believe in the strength of our community and the collective impact we can make. Your willingness to lend a hand and show solidarity during these challenging times is truly heartwarming. Together, we can make a difference and provide much-needed support to those in need.
Thank you for your compassion and willingness to help.
For over 75 years, the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) has been dedicated to promoting the safe operation and economic vitality of distributors of industrial gases and related welding equipment supplies. Through its GAWDA Gives Back campaign, association members have donated almost $2 million over the last 22 years to over 20 different charitable organizations in 14 communities across the U.S. Since 2013, GAWDA and its members also have provided scholarships over $430,000 to 133 young people interested in studies leading to careers in the industry. For more information, visit the association’s website at www.gawda.org.