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Danny Kaopuiki's

Kama`aina Profile

October 2006

Paul H. Aio

 

My Profile guest says that one of his highest priorities in life is "to put kids in Playgrounds instead of Prisons"!  His story begins back in the Kalihi Valley Homes and the Pua Hala/Lanakila Housing areas where he grew up, areas known as the gathering place for many Hawaiian gang and gang wannabe youngsters. Some of his best friends from those childhood days ended up in prison.

Meet Deputy Paul H. Aio of the King County Sheriff's Office, currently the Police Resource Officer at Lindbergh High School in Renton, WA! Tall, handsome, strong, intelligent, articulate, fair and professional in demeanor, Deputy Paul Aio is a shining example of the best qualities we look for in an Officer of the Law!  But look beyond the surface and you find the virtues that truly make Deputy Aio outstanding!

Recalling the days of his youth, Paul Aio could easily have become a gang member and could have ended up in jail but a program called P.A.L. (Police Activities League) in Honolulu offered Paul a chance to participate in their after school programs and Paul wisely decided to do so. To this day, Paul Aio feels indebted to PAL and two years ago, he joined several of his fellow Police officers in forming the Greater King County (GKC) PAL Chapter! Paul is actively engaged in GKC PAL as a teacher, a coach, a counselor.  The GKC PAL now has hundreds of "at risk" kids (ages 8-18) involved in various programs including academic study groups as well as athletic competitions in such as Judo, boxing, volleyball and even a Chess team. With the help of the Kikaha O Ke Kai Wa`a Club, Paul hopes to start a PAL outrigger canoe racing club in the near future!  Paul realizes he is a living example of how important PAL type activities can be in the lives of people and when he speaks, kids listen and believe! Paul says that being able to help troubled kids is the best reward he could ask for!

Paul's parents are from the Big Island.  Mom Lily Nahinu Aio is from Ka`u while Dad Gilbert Lonomoku Aio is from Kohala. Paul is a Farrington '65 grad.  Paul enlisted in the US Army in 1967, took basic training in Ft Ord, CA followed by advanced individual training at Ft Devens, MS where he was one of 40 other Hawaiian and Native American soldiers in a platoon they called "the Menehune Platoon" who were "recruited" to act in "The Green Berets" movie. Paul was one of the "enemy" in the film and he was so good at acting that he was "killed" twice in this make-believe combat movie. Shortly after doing the movie, Paul was sent to the real war in Viet Nam, serving a twelve month combat tour in the Bien Hoa area.

Ironically, Paul had to travel half way around the world before meeting the love of his life, a beautiful Hawaiian lady named Pamela Haunani Wright, when in 1969, both were assigned to duty with the US Army Security Agency in West Berlin, Germany!  Paul and Haunani married in 1970 and returned to Hawaii, choosing to leave the US Army to raise their family. Paul joined the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) in 1971.  In 1985, HPD sent Paul Aio to Washington State to pick up and escort a prisoner back to Hawaii. While in Seattle, Paul met Malcolm Chang and Leslie Wong, both of whom had been with HPD before joining the King County Sheriff & Kent Police Department. Malcolm and Leslie convinced Paul that Washington offered the best opportunity for professional, economic and educational advantages for Paul and his family. Within a year, the Paul Aio family relocated from a small, overcrowded homestead house in Nanakuli to Washington State where they have lived ever since.

While working with the PAL program is one of Paul's highest priorities, a second passion involves the NW Maika`i Ohana Association, an organization of fellow Hawaiian Islanders in the Pacific NW who are or have been Police Officers. NW Maika`i Association (which has over 400 members) focuses on helping other non-profit organizations in their respective fund raising events (NW Maika`i offers services such as Hawaiian food catering, security, etc).  Needless to say, Paul Aio's highest priority is his Ohana:  wife Haunani; sons Patrick Kuhio, Preston Kawaiola, and Pernell Kaohu; Hanai children Kelly, Lily and David; and daughter Paula whose Hawaiian name Makanaonalani ( gift from Heaven) was bestowed on her as a tribute to an older sister (Patricia) who died at an early age, and their pride and joy, granddaughter Kylie Kalea Aio.

Paul is an accomplished volleyball player, having won three gold medals as a member of the Honolulu Police Department volleyball team in the 1972, 1978 and 1980 World Police Olympics championships. Paul continues to fulfill his love for the game through coaching (he is the current Lindbergh HS JV coach and coaches U-14 "club" volleyball for the very popular Club Wahine program that was established by Glenn Rodenhurst and his wife Jean)!

There are so many things Paul Aio could have been...he attended St Stephens Seminary and could have fulfilled his Dad's dream of having a Priest in the family but Paul realized he could not live his Dad's dream..he could have had a great military career...he probably could have played professional volleyball...but he eventually chose to become a Police Officer, where he could give so much more back to his community! Deputy Paul Aio is more than an authority figure..he is a coach, a teacher, a counselor, a helping hand to those in need!  Paul Aio is living proof that one can emerge from a hard nosed street lifestyle to become a leader and, maybe more importantly, a teacher!  Mahalo Paul H. Aio................you da man!!!!!

Until next time, be kind to each other....me ke Aloha pumehana..............Danny

 

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