Maui Ikaika (strong) stickers feed, help first responders

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Fundraisers have been popping up left and right for the Lahaina wildfire that devastated portions of the Hawaiian island of Maui. Another fundraiser has been quietly helping to feed victims, first responders and long-time residents of Tahoe turned Hawaii transplants one sticker at a time.

John Rice, General Manager of Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kenny Curtzwiler, Owner of Lake Tahoe Ski Bum have been working with families that have boots on the ground in Maui such as Ted and Tammy Xavier to help any way they can.

This isn’t Curtzwiler’s first rodeo with fundraising, “When the Angora fire happened, I was sitting with some friends and said man we gotta do something. Within three days we hosted a party to raise money. We raised $21,750 in one day!”  

Last winter, Curtzwiler said he raised $2,500 for the Sierra-At-Tahoe Avalanche Dogs with the “We survived” 22/23 winter stickers. 

When the Lake Valley Fire Department Board of Directors heard Curtzwiler’s plan to launch a Maui Ikaika (strong) sticker campaign to support the first responders, John Rice, also a member of the board, said he immediately wanted to help. 

Rice said after living in Lahaina, strong bonds and connections were formed for him and his wife with many people they’ve kept in contact through the years. In fact, his wife’s previous roommate’s son works for the Maui Fire Rescue and has kept them apprised of the situation as it unfolded. 

While over 2,000 miles away, Rice said he felt like he was right there with them experiencing the Caldor Fire all over again.

“The fire damage for Sierra-At-Tahoe pales in comparison to the Lahaina loss of life. Our mechanics lost their tools – we didn’t lose our homes, our family,” Rice lamented.

Speaking from experience, Rice told the Tribune there’s more than one way people can help Maui recover, “You can’t rebuild it back to what it was, the tourism economy is dependent on visitors, I have friends who live there who are saying come to Maui, just not Lahaina. Some airlines are even lowering the prices to go there.”

Fully aware of the pain that comes with sweeping away an entire host of history, culture, memories and belongings, Rice said “[Stuff] can be replaced, it can be sentimental but at the end of the day it comes down to people and making sure we’re whole.”

In addition to the funds being sent to the fire department, Ted and Tammy Xavier, Hawaiian transplants from Tahoe, have been helping Curtzwiler get the funds into the right hands and food into hungry mouths.

Tammy told the Tribune Tahoe is heavy on their heart and so is the gratitude for Curtzwiler’s sticker funds.

“We met, married, and raised our families in the Tahoe Basin. We lived there for 37 years and owned a home on Keys Blvd from 1986 – 2010,” Tammy said.

After 2010, they moved to Maui. Tammy, an employee of the Merriman restaurant chain, said the funds sent to her will go to people who lost their jobs with the destruction of the location on One Bay Club Drive in Lahaina. The Xavier’s are choosing to stay in Lahaina to continue to feed their ohana, their family. 

For those who have visited both Tahoe and Hawaii there is a common draw; the love for the land. 

“Families have been raised [in Tahoe and Hawaii] for Generations. The love of our hearts and homes belongs to the Aina and each other,” Tammy said.

$10 suggested donation stickers can be found at the following locations:

  • Getaway Cafe
  • Wattabike
  • Bert’s Cafe
  • Napa Auto Parts
  • South Shore Bikes
  • Tahoe Keys Deli
  • Flight Deck (Airport)
  • Emerald Bay Bar And Grill (Brothers)
  • South Tahoe CrossFit
  • Fallen Leaf Lodge
  • Artemis
  • Tahoe Wellness Center

To be added to the list, call 530-308-5265

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