This Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox program features conversations with three former prisoners of war from three branches of military service, sharing their harrowing experiences. --The late William Paty, former Director of the Hawaiʻi State Department of Land and Natural Resources, was 23 when he parachuted into Normandy with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division on D-Day and fell into enemy hands. --Retired Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court Associate Justice Frank Padgett (center) was a World War II Air Force pilot whose B-24 bomber was shot down. He was held prisoner for eight months by the feared Japanese Kempetai. --During the Vietnam War, Navy pilot Jerry Coffee (right) was on a combat mission over North Vietnam when his jet took enemy anti-aircraft fire. One of the longest-held Vietnam POWs, he spent more than seven years in captivity, much of it in the infamous prison nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton.” The men’s POW stories, told matter-of-factly, are a testament to the strength of the human spirit, even in the darkest of times.
Amos Kotomori’s career in advertising, with modeling agencies and with top fashion designers, has taken him all over the world. However, his most inspirational attribute is how he has dealt with life’s challenges. This Honolulu and Bali-based designer shares how his life values and no-fear attitude have helped guide him through obstacles in life with grace and humility.
As a young boy growing up in ahupuaa o Niu, now known as Niu Valley, Nainoa Thompson would go to Maunalua Bay with a family friend, Yoshi Kawano. “And we would go fishing. And that’s where my love for the ocean started, through fishing,” Thompson remembers. In this interview from August 2015, Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson discusses sailing the Polynesian voyaging canoe, Hokulea, on a voyage around the world to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of our earth and the ocean that he loves.
Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS national, oversees media content that’s distributed to more than 330 public television stations, including PBS Hawaiʻi. Visiting from Virginia, she shares her thoughts on leadership, finding your path in life and navigating an ever-changing media landscape.
Meet second-generation owners of Kamaka Hawaii, Sam Kamaka Jr. and Fred Kamaka Sr. Now celebrating 100 years in business, Kamaka Hawaii has been the ‘ukulele crafter of choice for artists around the world.
At the age of twelve, Stacy Sproat left her home on the north shore of Kauai to attend Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu and subsequently, the University of Southern California. Yet while she left for education, she always knew that she wanted to come home. As a child, she’d worked on the family farm, swam in the mountain streams, surfed the waves at Kalihiwai and lived with people who took care of each other. As an adult, she moved back home to care for the land and to instill the values in those around her that she had grown up with.
Benny Rietveld’s first experience playing music was at the age of six, in the piano department at Gem’s in Kapalama. “I liked the idea that you could press something, and it creates this…cool sound,” Rietveld remembers. He was mentored by band director Henry Miyamura at McKinley High School, and played in local jazz and rock bands before moving to San Francisco and touring with Sheila E. and Miles Davis. Today, Benny Rietveld plays bass for Carlos Santana, and still sits in with the Hawai‘i musicians he grew up with.
Princess Johnson, Creative Producer of the PBS KIDS series Molly of Denali, didn’t know that life would lead her to producing a curriculum-based animated series. Yet with a master’s degree in education and a background in performing arts, Johnson, an Alaskan native from the Neets’aii Gwich’in tribe, was armed with the right combination of skills and training to do just that.
Born without arms and legs, inspirational speaker Nick Vujicic has never experienced the warmth of wrapping his arms around someone and hugging them. Yet he once held the record for the number of hugs in an hour. That’s Nick Vujicic — he always feels that “you can, you will.”
James Kauahikaua has witnessed some of the planet’s most awe-inspiring spectacles as a geophysicist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Hawai‘i Island. While his research frequently leads him dangerously close to molten hot magma, a dire cancer diagnosis may have been his most humbling encounter yet.
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