The 'Mayor of Salt Pond' Celebrates a Milestone

Louis Almadova, Jr.
Louis Almadova, Jr.

HANAPEPE, Kauai (KHNL) -- A man known as Kauai's "ambassador of aloha" celebrates a milestone. Louis Almadova, Jr., has been a fixture at Hanapepe's Salt Pond Beach Park on Kauai's south shore for decades.

Uncle Louie, as he's more commonly known, is the unofficial mayor of Salt Pond. He touches hearts, of locals and those who visit the Garden Isle.

"Welcome to the park! Welcome to the park! I'm the greeter here. I'm Uncle Louie," said the 90-year-old Kauai native.

Louis Almadova, Jr., has greeted people at Kauai's Salt Pond Beach his entire life.

"Is your family here? All the kids here?" he asked a couple visiting from California.

"Uncle Louie" as he is known, was born and raised in Kauai. He just celebrated his ninetieth birthday.

"Happy birthday, man," said Ian Ishikawa, a Kauai native who has known Almadova since he was a child. "You're the mayor of Salt Pond, anyways."

Locals treat him like family.

"All I got to say is, this is Mr. Louie Almadova," said Ishikawa. "He's very young because his heart is very young. No can beat that kind of people, you know. Hard to find."

Almadova was one of 11 kids. He worked at a sugar plantation, where he met his future wife Alice.

"She used to ride the same labor truck going to work, and would sit next to me," he said.

In 1940, Almadova was drafted, and fought in World War II as an infantry soldier.

Through it all, his wife Alice was by his side for 59 years. She passed away four years ago.

They had four kids, including a daughter named Pat.

A long time ago, a young reporter interviewed Almadova.

"She only asked me one question: 'How do you feel about the people -- the haoles or whoever -- coming here?' Let them come. There's room for everyone. People will just have to live with each other. Then I became the greeter out here," said Almadova with a chuckle.

He said he's learned a thing or two from people who visit Kauai.

"After listening to them say, 'Oh, look at this! Look at that!' Then, it goes in here," said Almadova, pointing to his head. "They see it differently. The people from the mainland see it differently. Very special. All the valleys and all that. We never see it before. The locals don't see that."

Over the years, Almadova has been recognized by many people and organizations, including the governor and the mayor.

There's even growing support of putting up a statue in his honor after he dies, but at least one person has a different idea.

"But I think what would be a lot more effective, for it to be erected before he passes away," said Tamara Stryker, a local resident. "So that he can enjoy it while he's still alive because he's a beautiful mayor of Salt Pond and really the ambassador of aloha."

It's that aloha spirit that's sustained him for nine decades.

"Wherever I go, I carry the aloha," said Almadova. "I try to greet everybody."

Support to erect a statue of Almadova continues to grow. The City and County of Kauai is looking into it.