Community group, church team up to help Hawaii Kai farmer with flood-damaged property

HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When the floodwaters rushed through farmer Michael Tsuruda's Hawaii Kai property it ruined a lot of his plant nursery, and did a significant amount of damage to his home.

"The water and mud covered all of my carpet area, that's like three rooms," Tsuruda said.

C4 Church heard about his plight and church members jumped at the chance to serve.

A small army spent a few hours Saturday doing what would have taken Tsuruda many days to do by himself..

"It's a single guy, farmer, just trying to make it through life, no insurance," said Dale Saito, a pastor at C4 church. "[Tsuruda]'s been living in mud for over a week now."

Some volunteers started by cutting up and carting off mud-soaked carpeting. One of the male volunteers, a licensed contractor, sliced away drywall that was covered with mold.

Everyone found something to do.

"I'm just cleaning one of the bedrooms so clean furniture can go in there, so we can keep cleaning the rest of the house," said church member Laura Castillo.

"I'm very appreciative of them coming in so quickly and doing all this work," Tsuruda said.

The effort was engineered by community organization Aina Haina Prepared.

"[Tsuruda] came to the Disaster Recovery Center on Thursday," said Danny Tengan, who coordinated the cleanup of Tsuruda's home. "I went out on Friday and I said, 'We're coming back Saturday,'" he said.

Tsuruda has no flood or home insurance so he's very thankful for the assistance.

He guesses the storm did $50,000 damage to his plant nursery, but he has no idea how much it did to his home.

"I'm hoping for FEMA grant money," he said. "I can't really borrow money. I don't want to go more in debt."

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