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Fire Recovery Efforts Big and Small

By Alma Tassi

During the immediate weeks following the August fires, many people in the community jumped into action using their skills, resources, and connections to help. Jayce Mawson, a REALTOR® from Equity One, was one of many who felt called to fill any need. Adamant about being involved in the recovery, he and his wife bought supplies, collected financial donations from friends, and got involved with deliveries by Trilogy and Pacific Whale Foundation. At the time, it was easy to find ways to help.

As the weeks passed, people slowly returned to the grind of their everyday lives, but that didn’t sit well with Mawson. He says, “I don’t want my life to return to normal when it’s not normal for everybody.” The far-reaching impact of the fires transformed the island and Mawson looked for ways to continue to aid in recovery efforts, big and small.


Jayce Mawson completes the shed for educational materials at KHAKO.

When a group of Equity One REALTORS® volunteered to serve Thanksgiving dinner at the KHAKO homeless shelter in Wailuku, Mawson joined in. With the West Side shelter lost in the fire, the Wailuku shelter needs more support than ever. The core group of 4-5 volunteers now serve dinner quarterly at the shelter. Mawson says, “It’s fun and rewarding to interact with everyone between the volunteers and those we were serving.”

Due to the fire, more educational programs were created at the shelter for the kids, and space was needed for all the supplies. Being handy, Mawson volunteered to build a shed. It took a weekend together, but it was his way of supporting the needs that keep popping up as recovery efforts continue. In his mind, there’s so much left to do.

Another desperate need for fire victims has been housing. Mawson started working with Global Empowerment Mission (GEM), a worldwide disaster-relief organization working locally to aid in food distribution, school recovery, infrastructure, and housing. Although organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross have been at the forefront, locally-driven organizations such as GEM have filled in the gaps to facilitate meaningful aid.

One of the programs they support is the state-funded Rental Assistance Program (RAP). Mawson says, “I had never heard of GEM until 3 and 4 weeks ago. I learned about the dire need for housing so I offered to help.” Utilizing his experience and connections with short-term property owners, Mawson has been reaching out to personally ask for their help to house victims. He says, “We’re trying the best we can. It hasn’t been easy, but we have had some generous donors. I keep reminding them it’s temporary and for those that have enjoyed this island, it’s time to give back.”

For more information about the homeless shelter visit To learn more about GEM, visit

REALTOR® means a member of the National Association of REALTORS® Do you know a REALTORS® Association of Maui member who should be recognized for their contributions to the community? If so, send your story idea to Alma Tassi at

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