VASH Volunteers: Erika Wyrtki (Left), Hilkka Easterwood (Center), and visitor from Germany: Ilse (Right)
The following is an excerpt from a card sent by Ilse to VASH:
“I want to express my most sincere gratitude for the help and care you provided for me in one of the darkest times of my life. Your help lifted my spirit and carried me through this dramatic time. I’ll never forget your wonderful support – you’ll be forever in my heart.”
Two cousins from Germany came to relax and enjoy some time in Hawaii, when tragedy happened. Irma was found unconscious in the water at Kuhio Beach Park and was admitted to Straub Hospital in critical condition. She later passed away. Ilse, Irma’s cousin, was devastated. Two of VASH’s volunteers, Hilkka and Erika, extended their assistance, compassion, and shoulders to cry on. Ilse really bonded with both Hilkka and Erika, which really helped Ilse cope with what was one of the darkest times in her life.
Hilkka and Erika took Ilse to Wai’oli Tea Room to celebrate her birthday. Ilse was so grateful to have such wonderful VASH volunteers by her side. Ilse was even able to smile in spite of this tragedy because of the genuine comfort that VASH’s volunteers offered.
One month after returning home, Ilse emailed VASH the following testimonial:
“It’s been a month now since my return from Hawaii, and not a day has passed, when I didn’t think of this fateful time in you beautiful city of Honolulu, where I experienced the tragic event of my cousin’s death on the first day of our so long anticipated holiday. It was such a shock to find myself totally alone in new surroundings and having to deal with this unforseen turn of plans by myself. What a blessing, to come into contact with your wonderful Society – the “Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii” to come to the rescue in my situation and with the help of your knowledgeable, resourceful and compassionable volunteers – the lovely ladies, Erika and Hilkka – support me through this challenging time. I’m forever grateful for this unexpected help and spread the word to all my family, friends and aquaintances, because it was such a tremendous boost to my spirit, and re-enforced my belief in humanity.
I want to express my deepest regard for all your help to me, and everyone that is lucky, to find equally valuable service in whatever circumstances that may be.
I commend you for your excellent work and wish you continued enthusiasm and fulfillment in your future endeavors.
I think of this time now with warm feelings – in spite of the incurred loss – and feel enriched by this experience.
I hoe to come back to Hawaii some time in the future, and will cherish your kindness always in my heart.
With love for all my new-found friends, I greet you sincerely.