"Uncle Kokua" saves Kailua 4th of July fireworks show
A Kailua millionaire has come to the rescue of the Fourth of July fireworks show in his town.
"The fireworks in Kailua, as you know, is a 65-year tradition. Last year, we didn't have nay because you didn't have enough money," said the man who goes only by the name Uncle Kokua. "That's not going to happen again this year. I want to give you a check for $25,000."
He's a part-time Kailua resident who presented a real check to make the show a reality.
The non-profit organization Kailua Fireworks had raised $31,000 from the community, but that fell far short of what was needed to light up the sky on Independence Day.
"I was so elated. I almost fell off my chair," said Jana Holden of Kailua Fireworks. "I couldn't believe it. I thought how lucky we are Uncle Kokua lives in Kailua."
"Last year we didn't have enough people working for the effort and the year before was so difficult to come up with the money by the deadline, everyone waits until the very last moment," said Holden.
For Uncle Kokua, it's just part of his plan of giving back.
"I try to help other people I believe since I've been somewhat successful in my life of giving back and helping people with different causes that touch my heart," said Uncle Kokua.
He's had his own local television show called "Uncle Kokua" and also appeared on ABC's Secret Millionaire, where he makes donations to people with a great need.
This one was different. Personal. In a way, you can say he was helping himself.
"When I was a kid, I remember always looking forward to fireworks on the Fourth of July," said Uncle Kokua. "To me, fireworks and the Fourth of July go together. Not having fireworks would be like having Christmas without Santa Claus. You just can't do it."
The Kailua California Pizza Kitchen is donating 20 percent of its proceeds through Tuesday to Kailua Fireworks.
The non-profit says that money will help start next year's fundraising. It is challenging Kailua residents to hold Fourth of July parties and encourage their guests to make donations toward next year's fireworks show.
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