Winston Churchill once said: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” It’s one of Randy Tsurusato’s favorite quotes—and it’s one that he personifies. “Giving back to those in need is a natural state for me, like breathing,” he explained. “It feels good…and it is just part of who I am.”
Whether it’s helping burn victims and their families, pitching in to help Maui’s veterans or serving hot meals to the homeless, the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Advantage Realty Valley Isle Realtor®-Broker is always prepared to lend a helping hand.
Tsurusato, who was a career firefighter before entering the real estate industry, has contributed his time and talent to a number of worthy causes over the years. This includes, and is not limited to, the Southern Nevada Burn Foundation Burn Unit at the University Medical Center at Southern Nevada; Toys for Tots; firefighter bachelor auctions for local charities; After the Fire is Our Program (which provides assistance to burn victims and their families); Camp Beyond The Scars (a San Diego-based camp that helps young burn survivors reclaim their confidence and self-esteem); Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Nevada; Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; Christmas in April (a volunteer organization that provides free, much-needed home repairs to low-income families, veterans, and the elderly); American Heart Association’s Maui Heart Walk (Tsurusato received the “Top Walker Award” in 2016 and 2017 and served as co-captain of this year’s 15-member Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate team); Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers; RAM’s Education Committee; RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund; Maui Monopoly Tournament (which benefitted the Maui Food Bank and Habitat For Humanity Maui); and Kaunoa Senior Center, where he’s taught cooking classes to seniors alongside members of the Maui Fire Department.
Tsurusato, who was active duty in the U.S. Air Force for nine-and-a-half years and then served as a firefighter in the U.S. Air Force Reserves for 13 years, also helps his fellow veterans at the Maui VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, UH Maui College Veterans Resource Center and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Maui Vet Center.
Tsurusato said he caught the volunteering bug several years ago while working as a firefighter in Las Vegas. “When we were off duty, we would go to the local elementary school to teach the children about fire prevention in the home,” he recalled. “The kids’ faces lit up and they had smiles from ear-to-ear as they got to try on our gear and learn how to ‘stop, drop and roll.’ The feeling from that experience is when the ‘giving-back bug’ really started. It was a simple act, yet it had a profound impact on me.”
Of all his volunteer experiences (and clearly, he has plenty to choose from), Tsurusato says there’s not one moment or event that stands apart from the rest—they all have been equally meaningful. “They are all very inspiring. Every smile I’ve seen is a favorite memory…there are simply too many to count,” he said. “Interacting with the community and its members makes me feel connected, like we are all in this together. Being here on Maui really allows for a sense of strong community and doing what is pono.”
The greatest reward of stepping up to help out, Tsurusato says, is knowing that you’re doing the right thing. “When I am able to give back, it allows me to live pono—to do what is right, to live in balance,” he explained. “It is a state that allows for the greatest good for myself, as well as that of the community and the individuals I serve.”
With that in mind, Tsursato encourages others to give back in any way they can. “Get inspired by a cause you truly care about,” he said. “You will be changed forever by your direct impact.”
Written by Sarah Ruppenthal
Published in The Maui News – December 16, 2017