A few years ago in Waikiki, strong winds knocked a traffic light sideways. Drivers and pedestrians didn’t know when to go or when to stop. After witnessing a couple of pedestrians having near-misses with cars while trying to cross the street, a group of volunteers with the Neighborhood Security Watch (NSW) ran out to help. These helpful neighbors were able to minimize the chaos in what could have been a dangerous situation. Among the group was Carlene MacPherson.
“We went out there and told people not to cross the street,” says MacPherson. “We saved people from traffic accidents.”
This type of hands-on helping is just one example of the many good deeds that NSW performs every day. NSW is an islandwide program sponsored by the Honolulu Police Department with the goal of reducing crime through community involvement and awareness.
MacPherson first got involved with the Waikiki branch of the organization in 2006. “I wanted to help ... make our neighborhoods a better place to live, work and play,” she explains. She says that the desire to get involved lies in her Midwest roots. MacPherson grew up in Michigan in a town where she says everybody looked out for one another. “NSW is neighbors taking care of neighbors,” she says.
After moving to Kailua a couple of years ago, she got involved with the Windward branch, which covers neighborhoods from Makapuu to Kahaluu. There, she wrote the group’s bylaws and helped the group achieve nonprofit status. In November of 2010, MacPherson was elected president. Her commitment to NSW runs so deep that she retired from her job as the administrative assistant for quality management at Hawaii Medical Center East to manage Windward NSW full time.
Windward NSW is involved with a variety of community events, including Project Clean. On Sept. 15, the group will be at the Kailua Town Disaster Fair. The group holds public meetings, which often feature guest speakers, every other month at the Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens in Kaneohe. At the Sept. 10 meeting, a representative from Windward Auto will present information about its Car Care program.
Above all, MacPherson says that she just wants to help keep people safe. “I know we can make a difference. I saw it in Waikiki ... We watched out crime statistics go down,” she says. “It’s been busy, but also exciting to see the community come together.” For more information, call the Kailua Police Department at 262-6555.
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