Finding Calm In A Panic Situation
Wednesday - November 02, 2005
I was involved in a minor automobile accident on Oahu Avenue in Manoa. When I got out of my car to talk to the other driver, I left my engine running and locked the door with the key in the ignition. I was in a panic and didn’t know what to do. Along comes Verna Koyanagi. She stopped and asked if I needed help. Seeing my predicament and handicap, she immediately took care of everything including calling my insurance company and road service. She also offered her car for me to sit in while waiting for road service. Then she stayed with me until I was able to be on my way. Having Verna there really calmed me. Although I was not injured, I was in quite a shock as this was the first time I ever had such an experience. Thank you, Verna and Officer Mattox from HPD, who tried to unlock the door.
“When I came on the scene she was standing in front of a house, obviously concerned about the situation,” says Sgt. Victor Mattox of the 7th District (East Honolulu). “The car was in a lane of traffic on Oahu near East Manoa Road, so I helped to redirect traffic while the owner of the house (Verna) called for road service. We tried to get the door open, but had to wait 40 minutes for the service truck to arrive before we had the right equipment. She was pretty shaken, and one of her legs was in a brace, so I made sure she could handle driving before helping her into the car.”
After enjoying the University of Hawaii Wahine Volleyball team defeat Loyola Marymount, my wife and I walked to our car in the parking structure, and as I was backing out of our stall, we discovered that our front right side tire was flat and coming off the rim. I had difficulty trying to find the jack in my trunk, and after a few minutes of fumbling around in the trunk, Rich and Judy Vermeesch came over and asked if I needed assistance. Since I still could not locate the jack for my car, Rich went over to his car and brought his jack. While Julie kept my wife company, Rich and I proceeded to replace my flat tire. By the time we had the tire replaced, most of the cars had left the parking structure, and we were able to leave without the usual bumper-to-bumper traffic. The newspapers have so many stories about people who rob others, do drugs, hurt others, destroy public property that it is very refreshing to read about the many good people living in Hawaii. I sincerely hope that more good people like Rich and Judy greatly outnumber those that have no respect for other people.
Ron and Sadie Toyofuku
Dear Ron and Sadie,
For Rich Vermeesch, supervisor of the Hawaii Pacific University Print Shop, and wife Julie, office manager of Kaiser Permanente Behavioral
Health, lending a hand is second nature. “We could see them in the lot with the trunk open and knew a little assistance was needed. It’s just the way we operate. I’m a member of the neighborhood board and PTA, so getting involved in the community is what we do naturally.”
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