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Unsung Heroes of 2010

This year, the Maui Weekly recognizes five extraordinary individuals who contribute tirelessly behind the scenes with passion and dedication to make a positive impact on Maui.

December 30, 2010
Trisha Smith

It’s difficult to imagine an arts community on Maui without the likes of ardent advocates such as Paul Janes-Brown

Public relations professional Katie McMillian said Paul “immediately comes to mind” when she thinks of the arts scene here, and from the moment they met, she knew he was “its biggest ambassador.” “He made me see what a vibrantly creative community Maui is.”

A Connecticut native, Paul has been active in theatre and writing since his youth, spending a majority of his professional life working with nonprofit arts organizations. During the ’70s, this arts hero was instrumental in getting artists recognized as a viable segment of the labor force within the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act. In New York City, Paul played variant company roles—on and off the stage—up until moving to Maui in 1997 for family.

Article Photos

Paul Janes-Brown
Photo: Jessica Pearl

“My dad really believes in community… ,” said Liz C.G. DeLyon. “He takes his role very seriously—puts his whole heart into it.”

With decades of experience under his modish belt, this arts aficionado has creatively designed his place in paradise, acting as a versatile critic, contributor and volunteer in the world of theatre, dance, visual arts and print media.

He has graced the pages of the Maui Weekly, Lahaina News, The Maui News and OnMaui Magazine, and delivers sophisticated charm during his weekly segments “Curtain Call” and “Let’s Talk More… ” on MauiTVNews.com and KAOI 1110AM/96.7FM, respectively. The latter segment is a column he created as an ode to the love of his life—his late wife Liz “Betty” Janes-Brown, a veteran journalist and actress revered for her “Let’s Talk” column in The Maui News.

As the managing director of Maui Academy of Performing Arts until 2007, he oversaw the establishment of Stepping Stone Playhouse.

A man of goodwill and faith, Paul generously volunteers in the community and sings regularly in his church choir at St. John’s Episcopal in Kula.

“I’m an aesthetic addict, a lover of all things excellent… ,” said Paul. “I’m passionately in love with this place… trying to pay my dues so I can stay.”

This “bon vivant” indeed loves the good life of Maui and delivers a dose of class with his signature attire and debonair rapport. Yet, the enthusiasm he exudes as he encourages others to further their enjoyment and appreciation of arts here in paradise is what makes him a star. Bravo!

Sandy Farmer-Wiley

It’s difficult not to admire the fiery spirit and sharp intellect of civil rights activist Sandy Farmer-Wiley. And with 2010 giving her ample reasons to hit the picket line and lobby behind-the-scenes for change, Sandy was a hero to many as she fought with wisdom and reasoning.

Sandy has struggled for equal rights her entire life, and now she’s a “triple threat” to the closed minds of society. “I’m African-American woman who happens to also be a lesbian,” said the outspoken senior citizen and longtime Maui resident.

Sandy married her partner of over 30 years, Jean Walker, in 2009 in Vermont, and is still “waiting for Hawai‘i to catch up.” She’s always been a passionate political and community advocate, working with a plethora of state and national organizations to deliver some “justice in this crazy world.”

Past efforts include Marriage Project Hawai‘i, and over the last decade, Sandy has worked nationally with the American social justice and civil rights organization called “Soulforce.”

The premise of Sandy’s activism is based upon methods in dialogue, collaboration and action set forth by Soulforce, which is inspired by the principles of relentless nonviolent resistance as taught and practiced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Although she considers herself “an activist who works best in the background,” Sandy turned her “eyes closer to home,” stepping forward in recent years.

She strived to inform and actively engage the community during the fight for civil unions (Hawai‘i House Bill 444), and provided updates surrounding California’s Proposition 8 and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“I work for rights for all, not just the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community,” she said.

As dedicated supporters of Hawai‘i Democrats, Sandy and company attended countless campaign events, resolutely sign-waved along Maui’s busy roadways and volunteered her time and energy to causes on the isle.

Sandy concurs with the saying, “it’s easy to make a dollar… challenging to make a difference.” “We’re trying to be the change we wish to see in the world,” she said.

Fred Guzman

Youth athletics’ advocate and radio personality Fred Guzman is considered “Maui’s man of all seasons and reasons.”

The current program director of Pacific Radio Group’s ESPN-AM 550, Fred highlights local and national sports on his popular afternoon talk show, and serves as the “sports guru” on sister stations. He was the program director of KNUI-AM (FoxNews-900), and remains a fixture in election coverage and news interviews on local television.

Fred, who was born in Puerto Rico, traveled with his “army-lifer father,” and then spent 20 years as an award-winning print journalist in San Francisco, covering events like the Super Bowl, World Series and NBA Finals. He doesn’t regret moving to Maui in the early ’90s, and has found “unique success.” “You may make less money, but the beauty and spirit here makes it worth it,” he said.

“He does so much for the community with such enthusiasm… many would love to let him know he’s appreciated,” said one avid listener, who chose to remain anonymous.

Fred enjoys coaching and mentoring local youth, integrating his love for both sports and Maui’s keiki.

Whether as a coach or an executive, Fred has been involved with soccer for over 30 years. A former vice president of San Jose’s professional team and international promotions at ProLink, Fred helped establish the Maui United Soccer Club in 1992. The group stresses the importance of education, with hopes to instill “a sense of responsibility” within players on and off the field.

“We emphasize respect, hard work and dedication,” he said. “We expose players to different places, prepare them for a higher level. Success doesn’t come overnight, and I stress it’s not about winning.”

Fred guided youth and adult teams to 20 state championship titles, 30 regional advancements and a national championship qualification.

“Maui’s tough for athletes, and great pride comes from seeing alumni excel… ,” said Fred. “And now, some of my former kids are coaching—giving back—and their kids are coming up. It’s just great.”

Jeff Murray

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. So it should come as no surprise that one of 2010’s most notable “tough guys” is none other than Maui County Fire Chief Jeff Murray. For more than 20 years, this unsung hero has answered the call (or, in his case, alarm) of duty.

Before joining the Maui Fire Department (MFD) in 1989, Murray served five years in the U.S. Air Force’s Firefighter Crash and Structural Division. As a rescue specialist, he was the team leader for MFD’s search-and-rescue team based in Kahului, and was selected to assist in the 2006 Kaloko Dam disaster on Kaua‘i.

Murray said in an interview with The Maui News that the most significant event in his career occurred in 1991 when he assisted in an open-ocean rescue of two individuals who had been lost at sea for nearly two days.

He was promoted to fire chief in 2008. Shortly after his promotion, Chief Murray said, “I’ve watched my father give back to the community as a captain in the state corrections department, and I’m proud to walk in his footsteps of public service…. I’ve never wanted to be anything else.”

Josh Jerman

It’s no secret that 2010 was a challenging year for most—if not all—of Maui County’s real estate professionals. Yet, despite the odds stacked against him, Josh Jerman, a broker with The Wailea Group, was unfailing in his commitment to give back to his community.

His friend and colleague, Tracy Stice of Hawai‘i Life Real Estate Services, credits Jerman for his character, work ethic and professionalism.

“I greatly admire Josh’s work ethic, his ability to handle adverse situations while keeping a smile on his face, and that he puts his clients’ and our community’s needs at the forefront of his goals. Josh has become a leader in his industry, adapting his business to these challenging economic times, while remaining committed to Maui’s community.”

For several years, Josh has donated a portion of his income from every real estate sale to local charities, including Maui Tomorrow, Friends of the Children’s Justice Center, Boys and Girls Club, Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i, and Punana Leo O Maui.

osh also created the Josh Jerman Maui Nui Scholarship, a Department of Education-approved scholarship now going into its seventh year. The scholarship awards tuition assistance to graduating seniors of Maui County who strive towards a positive vision for our island’s future and who plan to contribute to Maui County’s workforce after graduation. Since its inception in 2004, Josh has awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships to college-bound seniors.

 
 
 

 

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