History of VASH
In late 1995, the Rotary Club of Honolulu became aware that Hawaii had no Travelers Aid or similar organization dedicated to ensuring visitors of crime and other adversities were receiving appropriate follow-up assistance and Aloha. Recognizing the negative impact that crime against visitors was having on our tourism industry, the Rotary Club of Honolulu, with cooperation of Honolulu Police Department, established a volunteer Visitor Aloha Committee. The Rotary Club of Honolulu Board of Directors unanimously voted to provide $10,000.00 in seed money and other support necessary for the establishment of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, also known as VASH. The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii was recognized as exempt from Federal income tax, under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code in August 1998.
In the beginning, VASH was a statewide organization based in Honolulu. It later branched out with individual chapters located on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui and Kauai.
(Revised at VASH Board Meeting, August 27, 2013)
While Hawai‘i still remains among one of the safest tourist destinations in the world, and our police and prosecutors do a fantastic job within the scope of available resources, we unfortunately will never prevent all crime against visitors. We must therefore ensure that each and every traumatized visitor receives timely assistance and experiences the true aloha spirit of our people.
VASH has demonstrated that committed and well-trained volunteers offer the most efficient and cost-effective way of delivering that service. The citizens of Hawai‘i are well aware of the enormous negative impact that crime is having on our visitor industry, our state economy, and the future of our children and grandchildren. We are not only concerned but want something done about it. People are willing, given the opportunity, to volunteer to reach out to these victims with caring aloha. VASH provides them with that opportunity. It is simply a matter of aloha, which is, after all, what most visitors come to Hawai‘i for in the first place. We the people, our government, and visitor industry leaders cannot afford to disappoint them.
The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawai’i is a private, 501(c)(3) Non-Profit, Volunteer organization that is dedicated to sharing the Aloha Spirit with Visitors. Its funding comes from the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.
Jessica Lani Rich
President & CEO
Visitor Assistance Coordinator
Kenlyn Lum Yee
Chairperson: Jerome Andrade
Retired Funeral Director
Vice Chair: Rick Egged
President, Waikiki Improvement Association
Vice Chair: Cynthia Rankin
Regional Director of Public Relations, Hilton Hawaii
Secretary: Jared Higashi
Director of Government & Community Affairs, Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association
Treasurer: Casie Nakagawa-Porter
Assistant Vice President & Consumer Banking Planning Manager, Bank of Hawaii Segmentation Innovation Team
Jerry Dolak, CPP
Director of Safety and Security, Hilton Hawaiian Village
Lee D. Donohue
Retired Chief of Police, Honolulu Police Department; Director of Security, Securitas Security Services USA
Cynthia M. Flating
Mission Support Branch Chief, Area Port of Honolulu, Customs and Border Protection
President, James M. Fulton, LLC.
President, Nashimoto & Associates LLC
Principal, Marketing Management, Inc.
Thomas W. Matthews
President, TradeWest, Inc.
General Manager, Wet‘n’Wild Hawaii
Vice President Operations, Outrigger Enterprises Group
Attorney, Marr Jones & Wang
Former District Sales Manager, Delta Air Lines