Hawaii MVP: Josiah Koria
When it comes to someone who has a heart for Oahu's Leeward housless community, Pu'u Honua o Wai'anae, there's one name that stands out.
"For me, Josiah is a blessing in disguise. Because a lot of the work that I do, he's beginning to carry that load," Twinkle Borge said.
She's talking about Josiah Koria, for four years village leader Twinkle Borge has known him she said Koria has always put their community before himself.
"He always told me, 'Auntie I don't want you to stress I want to make sure that I am there for you and that I can help you' that means a lot," Borge said.
It also means, keiki come first, after Koria lost his nephew, Tyrell Niko in a 2010 car accident, he established Tyrell's Angels, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the children within the village.
"Even though he has nieces and nephews, they make up for that spot that is missing in his life," Borge said.
And just as family would, Koria makes sure they're on the right track in school, sports and other extracurricular activities.
"They are slowly learning how to grow up and take care of themselves," Randalynn Luafalemana-Kalauli said.
Monday through Fridays are meant for class time, but holiday breaks are reserved for village field trips.
"At the end it turns out to be educational because he wants an essay from them so it keeps their mind going," Borge said.
In 2018, Koria turned his focus to the adults, establishing Pu'uhonua Trademasters, a program to help those living at the encampment find work.
As a business partner, Randalynn Luafalemana- Kalauli sees the difference Koria's made for them.
"Josiah took the time to get to know the people in here, they took the time to get to know him and let him help them out," Luafalemana-Kalauli said.
And she believes Koria has more to offer.
"He's very helpful when it comes to houseless people. He started here, he's moving to Kaka'ako, and he's eventually going to go somewhere else," Luafalemana-Kalauli said.
Koria's years of passionate work haven't gone unnoticed, in fact it's getting recognized.
"So on behalf of PAR Hawaii and 76 we wanna congratulate you for everything you've done for the community in Waianae. So thank you for everything you've done. I know you don't want to be recognized, but we still want to, for everything you've done for the community . We want to give you, on behalf of 76 and PAR Hawaii a hundred dollars of gas that you can use for everything you do, thank you very much," Eric Baranda of PAR Hawaii tells Koria.
A surprised Koria said going out to help the homeless isn't about getting the glory.
"It's always kind of weird for me when people thank me. I don't feel like I do a lot. It just feels like it's something that I do everyday. Like it's normal to me. Helping people doesn't feel like I deserve a reward for it. That's why when people thank me or reward me, I don't know what to say. But thank you for recognizing me. I feel unworthy at time, but it's nice to be recognized," Koria said.
It's about touching lives.
And that's what makes Josiah Koria, a hero for the homeless, our Hawaii MVP.