It is said that a person who seeks to climb the highest mountains and strives to achieve the highest personal goals is often a person whose greatest satisfaction in life comes from simply reaching out to help others. My Profile guest this month is Heather ( Roy ) Minton…. mountain climber; doer; leader; Hawaiian…..
Heather has indeed climbed some very high mountains including Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania, Africa), Mt. Elbus (Russia), Mt. Cotopaxi (Equador), Mt. Rainier and she has “trekked” (same as walked a lot) throughout Tibet, India, Nepal, Myanmar (Burma) and New Zealand! Climbing mountains requires strength, endurance and great desire, traits which Heather obviously has. But even more awesome than climbing mountains, she has used these same personal traits to accomplish a great deal on behalf of her Hawaiian legacy.
During an eight year tenure as President of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association/Washington Region (KSAA/WR), Heather led several major KSAA/WR fund raising events (co-sponsored a Cazimero Brothers concert with Namele.com; partnered with Frank Minton in hosting a “Hawaiian theme” Seattle cruise” for a national AGCA convention; hosted a Mother’s Day Fashion Show featuring Hawaii’s own Puamana Crabbe; started the NW Aloha Charity Golf Tournament, now in its 6 th year.) These fund raisers were so successful that KSAA/WR has been able to annually award $2,500.00 in college scholarships to deserving Polynesian students from this area since 1999. Typically Heather refuses to take personal credit, saying that the successes were only possible through some hard work by all the KSAA/WR members!
Heather continues to stay involved in activities that benefit our Hawaiian community. As an Outreach Coordinator for The Melinda and Bill Gates Scholarship Program, Heather has visited numerous schools speaking to countless students and parents in efforts to get more Polynesian students to apply for these scholarships. Heather has been an executive officer of The Pacific American Foundation (PAF) for many years. PAF is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the welfare and lives of Pacific Americans worldwide. Currently, Heather is the Director of the National Pacific American Leadership Institute (NAPALI) Program which provides selected Pacific Americans with training and opportunities to prepare themselves to become future leaders in their respective communities. Since 1996, 45 Hawaiians, 24 Samoans, 6 Chamorros, 6 Tongans, 3 Maoris, and three Harvard University interns (1 Yapese, 1 Russian, 1 Vietnamese) have graduated from the NAPALI program
Born in Kona on the Big Island , this pretty, freckle faced and ehu haired wahine has always been a doer, an achiever, a leader! Her parents are David Kahelemauna Roy and Josephine Roy. Heather’s Hawaiian lineage traces back to Nahulani, whose brother Kapaakea was father of Queen Liliuokalani and King Kalakaua. She graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1953 and from Sullins College in Bristol , Virginia . Heather’s husband Frank Minton is actually the avid mountaineer of the family; he coerced/ coached/cajoled Heather into improving her strength and physical condition so she could climb mountains with him. Frank is a handsome, strong/silent type who has helped out on numerous Hawaiian community activities in the past. Heather’s Ohana includes two sons, three stepdaughters, one stepson and she is tutu wahine (grandma) to fifteen mo`opuna (grandchildren). One of her sons (Rylen Akana) is a renowned Seattle area musician who leads the popular “ Po `okela Street Gang” Hawaiian/Reggae music group.
Heather and Frank just returned from a three week “cultural adventure” to Myanmar ( Burma ) where she was awed by the simple, wholesome and happy lifestyle of the Ahku tribe natives she met. Their very primitive lifestyle reminded her of how Hawaiians lived in the olden days when everyone in a village had their tasks to do and how it took “a village to raise a child” (parents farm the land or fish or hunt while the elders (kupuna) care for the children.)
Heather Minton truly has “climbed down off the mountain” to lend a helping hand to many in our Hawaiian community, not just here in the Pacific NW but throughout the world! Mahalo nui loa Heather…keep up the good work!
Until we meet again….be kind to each other….me ke Aloha pumehana…..Danny