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Beach biathlon closes out Firemen’s Fund Weekend

Grayson Cameron

Jason Freitas finishes first in the Greg Cameron Firemen’s Fund Fun Run and Swim on Sunday at the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area. (JR De Groote/West Hawaii Today)

Jason Freitas finishes first in the Greg Cameron Firemen’s Fund Fun Run and Swim on Sunday at the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area. (JR De Groote/West Hawaii Today)

by J.R. De Groote, West Hawaii Today -- August 3, 2015

Nearly 100 athletes gathered at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area for the third annual Greg Cameron Firemen’s Fund Fun Run and Swim on Sunday morning.

The event celebrated the life of Greg Cameron — a firefighter, paramedic and fire-rescue specialist who passed away in 2012 after an extended bout with cancer. It also served as a fundraiser for the Greg Cameron Firemen’s Fund, which has the mission of providing financial support to Hawaii Fire Department employees who face injury or prolonged illness.

The Firemen’s Fund weekend started on Saturday with a sold out four-man scramble golf tournament at the Hapuna Prince Golf Course. The weekend concluded with the fun run and swim, although most of the athletes probably wouldn’t have called the run on Hapuna’s deep, shifty sands very fun.

“The biathlon brings everyone together,” said Grant Kojima, executive director for the Greg Cameron Firemen’s Fund.“Hapuna was Greg’s favorite place to be and the day is really about celebrating his life.”

Lifeguard Jason Freitas won the 400-meter swim and 1-mile beach run biathlon for a second consecutive year with a time of 12 minutes and 5 seconds . Konawaena teacher and triathlon club coach David Wild followed close behind with a time of 12:13. Konawaena student Lawrence Barrett took third at 13:49.

Ashley Rynkewicz took first female honors with a time of 15:40, outdueling Madison-Gail Hauanio (15:59). Melissa Schad (16:40) rounded out the female podium.

It was the second year for the LavaKids races at the event. The youth organization staged races of different lengths for keiki ages 4-14.

Alex Filnov (male) and Grace Rynkewicz (female) were the fastest keiki down the beach and in the water for ages 1-10. Brock Imonen and Nani Spaur were victorious in the 11-14 biathlon.

Greg’s Dream


The Greg Cameron Firemen’s Fund was established to ensure that employees of the Hawaii Fire Department who helped Cameron knew how grateful he was for their support during his time of need.

“During the year we are trying to give money to firefighters and their families who are in need,” Kojima said. “This is our main fundraiser to be able to do that.”

The fund has helped out firefighters in a variety of ways since it was founded in 2012, and that trend continued this year.

After HFD Water Safety Official Kaleo Hauanio lost his daughter Phoenix in a tragic auto accident on Feb. 14, the Firemen’s Fund stepped in with a grant to help Hauanio remain with his family during the early grieving process.

A thank you letter to the Greg Cameron group was posted on the family’s GoFundMe page.

“The substantial assistance the Greg Cameron Fireman’s Fund aided the family when they needed it most, and allowed Kaleo a bit more time off for grieving before returning to his own life saving duties,” the post read. “We have appreciated every donation and kind gesture from the bottom of our aching hearts, but the large and generous nature of The Greg Cameron Fireman’s Fund really cannot pass without letting you all know what amazing things they are doing, and how we are so very grateful for their help.”

“That’s what this is all about,” Kojima said.

Big thanks to Vern Hara for his generous donation!

Grayson Cameron

FMS-II (Fire Fighter/Paramedic) Vern Hara recently donated $700 to TGCFF of the money he raised from his firefighter's volleyball tournament held May 10, 2014. Hara worked at Kailua Fire Station on the same shift with Greg Cameron and TGCFF Board Member Grant Kojima in 2007. Hara was also a recipient of TGCFF's first EMS training grant in 2013. Big Mahalo Vern! 

From right: TGCFF Board Member Grant Kojima with Fire Fighter/Paramedic Vern Hara

From right: TGCFF Board Member Grant Kojima with Fire Fighter/Paramedic Vern Hara

TGCFF Sponsors "Hands-Only" CPR Video

Grayson Cameron

TGCFF joined the Hawaii Heart Foundation, HFD, and Queens Medical Center to produce the “Hands-Only CPR” training video below.  The video provides a fast way for every Hawaii resident to learn how to save a life. Watch the video below!

Announced: TGCFF Training Scholarships

Grayson Cameron

HFD firefighters Vern Hara and Matthew Komata were recipients of the first TGCFF Scholarships. The scholarships covered expenses related to emergency medical services training they attended at the EMS World Expo in Las Vegas, NV on Sep. 8-12, 2013.

Matt and I are forever grateful to have had the great privilege to be the inaugural recipients of TGCFF scholarship.  The opportunity that has been provided to us is greatly appreciated.  Memories were made and we had a great experience that will never be forgotten.

Greg was a great mentor to me, I am glad to see that he is still guiding us, helping his HFD family learn and excel, making us be the best we can be.  For that we will be forever grateful to a wonderful man, mentor and friend.  Thank you all for continuing Greg's legacy.  It is a great program, thank you for the wonderful opportunity.

Vern Hara, FMS II, Hawaii Fire Department

TGCFF Receives Grant From Clark Realty Corp. Community Fund

Grayson Cameron

The Clark Realty Corporation Community Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation announced that it has awarded a grant to TGCFF.  The funds were provided in December 2014 to assist HFD firefighters who face injury or serious illness.

The fund makes grants to support Big Island programs that promote lifelong learning, promote healthy lifestyles, promote an appreciation of the local environment, promote an appreciation of the arts, or work to meet social needs.  The Hawaii Community Foundation mission is to “help people make a difference by inspiring the spirit of giving and by investing in people and solutions to benefit every island community.”


Second Annual Firemen's Fund Weekend a Huge Success!

Grayson Cameron

The 2nd Annual Firemen's Fund Weekend was a huge success! More than 140 golfers and over 90 runners and swimmers participated in the events.

Participants competed for great prizes, and helped raise a lot of money--100% of which will be used to help HFD firefighters who face injuries or illnesses that keep them out of work.

Special thanks to LavaKids, which cosponsored the 2014 Fun Run / Swim!

Thanks to the new firefighter recruits at HFD for making the weekend events even better!  The recruits provided the muscle and organizational skill that was needed to make event setups and take downs easy.  They also manned aid stations, and provided other assistance from start to finish. Mahalo!

TGCFF Perpetual Trophy

Left: TGCFF Board Member Kainoa Wiley displays the TGCFF Perpetual Trophy for winners of the Firemen's Fund Weekend Fun Run & Swim. The trophy is inscribed with the names of all biathlon winners, and is housed at the South Kohala Fire Station.


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