From Tragedy Comes Opportunities to Give Back

By Laura Otto
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Sometimes, a small gesture of kindness and community can mean a lot to those affected by natural disasters. Following the deadly wildfires that tore through the historic town of Lahaina, Hawaii, in early August, many in the community association industry wanted to show their support to Maui homeowners displaced by the fires. The wildfires are considered to be the deadliest in modern U.S. history, according to The Washington Post.

Here’s a great example of that spirit of community. Bill Dix, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, spent 20 years living on the island of Maui and 12 years as a community manager managing several condo associations in the Lahaina area. Now general manager of SunRiver St. George Community Association in St. George, Utah, Dix was heartbroken by the total devastation and wanted to help residents recover and rebuild the town where his friends and family members still call home.

“At my community, we have a quilting club. The membership of the club is 60+ strong,” he says. “When they heard about the wildfires on Maui and the tragedies, loss of life, and property, they approached me about donating handmade quilts to the victims who lost their homes.”

Subsequently, the SunRiver Quilting Club made 40 quilts by hand to be donated. Earlier this month, Dix traveled to Hawaii for CAI’s Large-Scale Managers Workshop and delivered the quilts to the Maui office of Hawaiiana Management Co., Hawaii’s largest association management company.

“Hawaiiana Management had a couple of employees and several associations directly affected by the fires, including losing their homes and property,” he says. Dix presented the quilts to representatives of Hawaiiana, who have dispersed them to their affected homeowners.

“It’s extra special knowing they made these quilts by hand, an absolute blessing,” says April Lum, director of Hawaiiana’s Lahaina office. She refers to the ladies of the Sun River Quilt Club as “angels” for their generous donations.

“These quilts will go to many who have lost everything,” she adds. “As my sister-in-law keeps saying, “Blessings are all around us. We just need to believe.”

In times of tragedy Dix says he finds inspiration and hope in the power of community and helping others.

Visit Maui Strong – Hawaii Community Foundation to help residents recover.

CAI created a list of relief and recovery programs for homeowners and community associations.

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Laura Otto

Laura Otto is the Senior Editor of Digital Content at CAI. A seasoned journalist, Laura previously worked for a creative, advocacy agency in Washington, D.C., where she wrote and edited content for a variety of public health clients. Prior to that, Laura served as a senior writer and editor for the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Laura is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia.