Dennis Fujimoto
The Garden Island

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) _ It is amazing what an army can do in just a couple of hours.

“This is like a colony of bees,” said Lisa Johnshoy of American Medical Response on Monday. “The amount of work being done in such a short time is phenomenal. What a gift!”

Edward Perotti, the senior director for Global meetings, events, and travel for VMware, led more than 700 VMware sales personnel and their families to the Boys & Girls Club, Lihue Clubhouse where the group broke into different teams to tackle a ton of chores, The Garden Island reported Tuesday.

VMware, a global technology company based in Palo Alto, California, is hosting a meeting of its top sales performers from around the world at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. To launch the meeting, VMware set out to contribute to the community and the people of Hawaii.

“Giving back is something everybody does,” Perotti said. “Writing a check is easy, but to get the people to come out and do the work is pretty meaningful. We work on the principal of leaving more than when we came.”

Tina Albao, the B&G Club Kauai business manager, said the scope of work included finishing the second building, an unused portable building that was stored in the area outside the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall parking lot. Utilizing concepts within VMware, the group converted the building into a “Dream Room,” effectively expanding on the capacity of the original B&G Lihue Clubhouse.

Additionally, VMware crews cleaned up the adjacent Lihue County Park, repainting the dugouts and grand stand closest to the convention hall parking lot, power washing and cleaning the bleachers.

“I came to drop by to visit someone next door and they told me I couldn’t park here,” said Dick Ueoka, of Lihue. “Look at the amount of people, and look at the amount of work they’re doing for us. This is absolutely amazing. Kauai people are fortunate to have people like this doing so much for us.”

In addition to the park and the B&G buildings, other VMware crews worked on the Mayor’s Aloha Garden, which is tended to by the Boys & Girls Club, Lihue Clubhouse.

Albao said in addition to the work, the VMware group contributed more than 900 new books.

Monique Louvigny of The Performance Group, who works with VMware, said they asked all of the people attending to bring at least one new book. The resulting international library of new books will be distributed between the three Boys & Girls Club programs on Kauai.

“This is the biggest project on Kauai the Boys & Girls Club has undertaken in its history,” Albao said. “When done, it increases the capacity of the Boys & Girls Club, Lihue Clubhouse which has currently about 160 members. Currently, we utilize the county’s park and the grand stand to accommodate some of the programs we offer.

With the addition of the second building, we can bring everyone under roof.”

Albao said the group of more than 700 people was broken down into four groups: one taking care of landscaping, including the Mayor’s Aloha Garden, the second in charge of exterior painting, the third group building picnic tables, and the other doing the park clean up.

Additionally, there were areas set up to catalog the new books and offer instruction in hula and hip-hop dance.

“During my travels here, I’ve heard the stories of people leaving the Islands,” Perotti said. “This is like planting the seeds for the future. If we give the students the tools and infrastructure, it may give them reason to stay. Hopefully, one of the kids in the program will grow to do great things.”