New Roof Has Inmates Covered At Waiawa

Jessica Goolsby
Wednesday - December 02, 2009
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
E-mail this story | Print this page | Comments (0) | Archive | RSS | Share

A recent community-led reroofing project at Waiawa Correctional Facility has left inmates’ quarters high and dry and, for once, that’s a good thing. The completed roof was dedicated Sept. 18 by Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona.

During the course of the 15-day job, three buildings were reroofed, all of which house inmates. Volunteer services and donations rendered for the roofing alone saved state taxpayers approximately $200,000, and manpower and equipment transportation provided by Roberts Hawaii saved about $100,000 more.

“The roof was leaking for a while and was growing vegetation,” admitted a prison staff member. “We didn’t want to pull it off because we thought it would damage the roof even further, so we got in touch with Pastor Allen, who helped us start our work-furlough program last year. He got us Pastor Bird (James Mahelona),and when he came in he got all the donations, time and manpower for us. Those two were very instrumental in putting all this together, and Pastor Allen likes to say that his group adopted us.”


Allen Cardines Jr., minister of Hope Chapel Nanakuli and president of Transformation Hawaii, said that he stepped in because he believed the condition of the roof was unacceptable. The roof had been an issue for some time at Waiawa; there was even a rubber tree growing from one of the rooftops for nearly 20 years.

“About four years ago I talked to the then-warden and asked what was one thing we could do to help the facility, and at that time he told me that he would really like the roof to be fixed. His perspective was that it wasn’t that the state didn’t care, but they just didn’t have the money.

“I just went out and spoke with several church and community leaders, and we reached out to business leaders to help us. We knew this was something that we needed to do. We wanted to demonstrate the aloha spirit and prove it is still alive. It was truly amazing to see all of these people come together for this cause.”

Mahelona (aka Pastor Bird) also was more than happy to lend a hand, along with the help of his company, Beachside Roofing. “I heard there were a few buildings that were leaking really badly, so I went in, got the clearance, met with the warden and the chief, was briefed on the roof situation and finally went up and measured it for work,” Mahelona said. “When I went up (on the roof) it was so bad that it looked exactly like the ground. There was grass and trees and all kinds of stuff growing on the roof that you just wouldn’t believe. I just knew we had to help.”

Mahelona then began recruiting help. “I just went out and started looking for donations in the community. It was like a miracle ... a blessing.The people that I met opened up their hearts and their wallets and donated to this cause. It was amazing.”

As the reroofing neared completion, Mahelona realized that the team was short about 47 rows of material.He met with West Coast Roofing owner Manuel C.Madeira Jr., who donated the materials needed that very day.

Grace Pacific supplied new gravel, and others like Certified Construction Inc., MRC Roofing Inc., NJJM Hauling Services, Hardware Hawaii, PVT Land Co., The Trash Man Hawaii, ABC Supply Co. and Hawaii He’e Nalu offered various services, manpower and time. An inmate workline also was established, allowing the men to provide muscle to the job.

“For me, as not only a roofer, but a Nanakuli pastor, it is an honor to be able to help these inmates give back and to help them realize that they can change the way they are for the better. I loved being able to share my craft and the Good Word with these guys,” Mahelona said. “It’s all about braddahs healing braddahs healing families. That’s my motto. And through it I’ve seen families (and rooftops) restored.”

E-mail this story | Print this page | Comments (0) | Archive | RSS

Most Recent Comment(s):

Posting a comment on requires a free registration.



Auto Login

Forgot Password

Sign Up for MidWeek newsletter Times Supermarket



Hawaii Luxury

Tiare Asia and Alex Bing
were spotted at the Sugar Ray's Bar Lounge