Pink paint job for historic Maili bunker panned by some
MAILI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was supposed to be about sharing a positive message with the community.
But some residents are irked about a hiking group's decision to paint a World War II-era bunker in Maili pink to raise awareness about cancer.
Howard Militante said he organized a hike in Maili to shine a spotlight on breast cancer in a new way.
He said he doesn't know who painted the pillbox, but he feels responsible because he organized the event. "If I have overstepped the boundaries or if I offended anyone, I personally, sincerely apologize." he said.
Still, he said if the pink bunker gets people thinking about cancer checkups, it's worth the backlash.
"I'm just trying to get people's attention that cancer is real. Cancer is serious and it affects each and every one of us," he said.
He said about 125 people came out for the hike; at some point, the bunker was painted a bright pink.
Militante points out the bunker was covered in graffiti. But the new shade has some people seeing red.
One critic posted this on Facebook: "Some idiots have painted the bunker pink on Maili point."
Resident Kimberly Acker also didn't like the new color. "Anything that is painted over our beautiful rocks or volcanic rocks or the mountain it should not be put there or painted. Keep it natural," she said.
But the colorful statement also has its supporters.
"Everything else up there is so dreary usually. Some color up there looks nice," resident Marina Longfellow said.
Militante said cancer is personal to him -- several of his relatives have died from the disease.
The avid hiker said a few weeks ago, he put a prayer box at the Maili bunker for people to leave prayer requests.
"A lot of the prayers that I had received two weeks ago were praying for family members who are afflicted by cancer," he said.
Whoever painted the bunker pink could face repercussions from the state, which owns the land and the WW II-era relic that's now impossible to ignore.
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