As we approach 40 years of sailing and snorkeling around the island of Lana'i there have been many events which have shaped the role which Trilogy plays in the local Lana'i community.
Music provided by Oren Masserman
Decades ago when Trilogy was first beginning to operate on an island which was--at the time--the world's largest pineapple plantation, each Thanksgiving the company would provide a turkey to local Lana'i employees for their hard work and service. After a few years this movement also grew to include some of the company's most loyal passengers, and eventually Trilogy decided that as a means of giving back to the island community they would provide every family on the island with a Thanksgiving turkey as a way of showing their aloha and appreciation.
That was 19 years ago, and since that time the population of the island has swollen from 2,000 people to a little over 3,300. Nevertheless, Trilogy has stayed true to its original goal and handed out 1,150 turkeys this year to appreciative Lana'i citizens. With many residents arriving at the Lana'i City Service Center (aka the island's only gas station) well before the scheduled 8am start, by the time the turkeys began changing hands there was a line of residents wrapping all the way around the block.
Over these 19 years, however, the annual giveaway has grown into an event which brings together a number of island businesses and non-profits for what is one of Lanai's largest community gatherings of the year. Joining Trilogy in the food department was the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association who matched the 1,150 turkeys with 1,150 5lb. bags of rice. Also in attendance were representatives of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, the non-profit Na Pu'uwai (which aims to address health conditions among Native Hawaiians), as well as members of the local Lana'i fire department who were making complimentary safety ID badges for the island's kamali'i (young students).
On a somewhat brisk and blustery morning Captains Jim, Randy, and Riley Coon also personally met with the majority of the island's residents to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. Captains Jim and Randy admit it's hard to believe nearly 40 years have passed since they first started sailing with passengers to this isolated Hawaiian island, and during that time they have literally grown up with the Lana'i people as the island has changed hands from Dole, to David Murdock, to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
Despite the growth and changes, however, the Coon Brothers firmly maintain their commitment to honoring the island's local people by providing not only turkeys, but also jobs to a number of the island's permanent residents. That being said, Captain Jim makes a point of acknowledging that new arrivals to the island of Lana'i (such as new Four Seasons hotel staff) are welcome members of the island community, and events such as the turkey giveaway are meant to foster relations amongst community members, businesses, and non-profits alike.
Over time, the long-term impact of the turkey giveaway has actually stretched far beyond the usual tupperwares full of leftovers. With the success the event has seen over the past two decades the need which was highlighted amongst the community initially served as the catalyst for initiatives such as the Hawaii Rural Development Program which, since its founding, has helped train and educate over 75,000 rural community members in sustainable careers they can carry out into the community.
As a company we feel markedly blessed to be able to share the beauty of Lana'i with guests from all across the world, and given this fortunate set of circumstances also recognize the importance of giving back to a local community which has supported our growth for the better part of four decades. So during this season of giving and thanks Trilogy extends our warmest aloha to the island communities of Maui and Lana'i and to the the legions of loyal passengers we are blessed to share these islands with.
Mahalo for your support, and from everyone in the Trilogy 'ohana, have a Happy Thanksgiving.