Kalaupapa residents detail Health Director's last day - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kalaupapa residents detail Health Director's last day

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Loretta Fuddy Loretta Fuddy
Mark Miller Mark Miller
Keith Yamamoto Keith Yamamoto
Stanford Rapanot Stanford Rapanot
Rev. Patrick Killilea Rev. Patrick Killilea

"She came in on the morning plane," says the Rev. Patrick Killilea of St. Francis Parish in Kalaupapa about Loretta Fuddy.

"I met her here," says Killilea, as he stands at the white picket fence surrounding the runway.

He and settlement Administrator Mark Miller met the State Department of Health Director at the airport Wednesday morning.

Fuddy was on official business.  Her title automatically makes her the honorary Mayor of the town.  And while the visit was work-related, she also had time to do a little sightseeing with her Deputy Director, Keith Yamamoto.

"I took her by the beach," says Miller, who says two whales were spouting and spinner dolphins were putting on a show for the group.  They also visited the grave site of Father Damien and met with Hansen's Disease patients who still live in the town of about 100. At a town hall meeting, Fuddy listened to the concerns of the residents. 

Then she and Yamamoto caught the last flight out of Kalaupapa, about three-thirty in the afternoon.

The plane crashed about a half mile from shore.  All nine people onboard survived the crash.  Father Killilea says Yamamoto later told him that everyone had life vests on and were floating in the water, waiting for rescue. 

"He held her hand, " says Killilea, "(They were) holding hands for sometime while floating,"

Then Killilea says Yamamoto told him that Fuddy let go.  He thought she fell unconscious.

McVeigh Hall, where the town hall meeting was held Wednesday, became a gathering site for mourners Thursday.

"She touched every patient," says Miller, "She was genuinely interested in the people here."

Miller says Fuddy visited the remote area of Molokai at least a couple times a year and took all of their concerns seriously.  He says, she will definitely be missed. 

 

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