He lost his home and livelihood to lava, but his focus now is on helping others

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Leilani Estates resident lost his home, car and livelihood to the destructive lava flows taking over the Puna neighborhood.

But he's determined to help others as the scope of the disaster continues to unfold.

Mike Hale has already lost his Ford Mustang, vacation rental business, and home to the eruptions that have destroyed at least 36 structures, including 27 homes. Hale says that in the moments before he left his home under county orders, the decision of what to take was simple.

"I'm inside the house looking around, and to me everything looks like junk all of a sudden," Hale said.

Luckily, Hale owns real estate on other areas of the Big Island that he's using to set up camp for himself and four other households. The one-acre property off of Pahoa Village road is currently littered with tents and minivans.

Hale wants to help three or four more families set up camp on his land, so long as they have sleeping accommodations.

Hale says losing so much in the disastrous eruptions has sent him on an emotional roller coaster. He says one of the items he'll miss most is a Star Wars-themed mailbox his daughter gave him as a gift.

"You know, I go up and down — I'm going through every single emotion right now," Hale said. "I'm a fighter, I'll make it work."

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