LIHUE, KAUAI (KHNL) - It was a celebration to honor the life of Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste. Thousands came out to pay tribute to a man who did so much for the community.
Mayor Baptiste died two weeks ago, after serving as the Garden Isle's Mayor for 5 and a half years.
They stood in line for hours, some arriving on foot, some on motorcycles and some in uniform. Within the deep sense of loss was the sense of happiness as everyone talked about the good times with Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste.
"Just hear people telling stories about him, to hear them laughing about memories they've had with the mayor, embracing each other, comforting each other," said Acting Kauai Mayor Gary Heu.
Friends say Baptiste was a fair man who believed in hard work, never losing focus, and putting others before himself. Many lost a great friend, a best friend, and the people of Kauai lost someone who loved them very much. With the countless hours he spent trying to be the model politician; he never lost his ability to make people laugh.
"He had one of the best senses of humor of anyone I know. He and I were very different," said Governor Linda Lingle.
A reflection of all the work he had done over the years could be seen in the eyes of the people, who showed up to offer their condolences to Bryan Baptistes' close friends and relatives.
"The family is holding up very well, but everyone has their moments, especially with this kind of outpouring of support from the community," said Bryan Baptistes' nephew Arnold Baptiste.
His passing might have created a bit of uncertainty on Kauai, but it's clear this community will continue to care for one another just as the man who represented them did for the last 5 and a half years.
Baptiste is survived by his wife Annette and their four children.