Outstanding job: Special Olympians, supporters honored with awards

  • Special Olympics West Hawaii Female Athlete of the Year 2019 Marinna Takahashi-Ruiz holds her award as fellow athletes and friends snap photos during the organization's annual Sports Sign Ups and Recognition Luncheon held Saturday at Kahaluu Beach Park. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Special Olympics West Hawaii Male Athlete of the Year 2019 Kaiena Costa holds his award as Denise Lindsey, SOWH area director, keeps the crowd entertained during the organization's annual Sports Sign Ups and Recognition Luncheon held Saturday at Kahaluu Beach Park. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Special Olympics West Hawaii Coach of the Year 2019 Russell Gibson accepts his award from Denise Lindsey, SOWH area director, during the organization's annual Sports Sign Ups and Recognition Luncheon held Saturday at Kahaluu Beach Park. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • The Lees proudly accept the Special Olympics West Hawaii Family of the Year 2019 Award from Denise Lindsey, SOWH area director, during the organization's annual Sports Sign Ups and Recognition Luncheon held Saturday at Kahaluu Beach Park. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • The Kona Rotary Club was recognized as Special Olympics West Hawaii Organization of the Year 2019 during the organization's annual Sports Sign Ups and Recognition Luncheon held Saturday at Kahaluu Beach Park. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Special Olympics West Hawaii Area Director Denise Lindsey, left, and Keahi Robins stand with the organization's Outstanding Sports Organization 2019 award given to Hawaii Lifeguard Surf Instructors pose for a photo Saturday at Kahaluu Beach Park. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Attendees fill up their plates before Special Olympics West Hawaii's annual Sports Sign Ups and Recognition Luncheon held Saturday at Kahaluu Beach Park. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

Special Olympics West Hawaii honored athletes, individuals and organizations Saturday during the organization’s annual Sports Sign Ups and Recognition Luncheon at Kahaluu Beach Park.

Earning the coveted Male Athlete of the Year Award was Kaiena Costa for his hard work and dedication to Special Olympics West Hawaii teams and programs.

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“He’s a phenomenal swimmer, he’s a great sportsman and he loves each one of his teammates,” Denise Lindsey, Special Olympics West Hawaii area director, said in announcing Costa as Male Athlete of the Year.

Marinna Takahashi-Ruiz, whom Lindsey described as “an all-around cow-girl,” who takes part in multiple sports including bowling, bocce, powerlifting, swimming and softball.

“And she volunteers at hospice, how wonderful is that?” Lindsey said.

For his support to his athletes and team, Russell Gibson was bestowed the Coach of the Year honor.

The Family of the Year award went to the Lee Family in recognition of the family’s ongoing support and dedication to the athletes, families, and volunteers and programs. Meanwhile, Robert Yong took home the Unified Partner of the Year award.

Special Olympics West Hawaii also highlighted a few of its own volunteers. Among them were Renee Morinaka as Social Media Photographer of the Year; Kenison Morinaka as Youth Volunteer of the Year and Linda Goeth and Michelle Vinz as New Volunteers of the Year.

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Organizations recognized include Kona Rotary Club as Organization of the Year; West Hawaii Today as Media of the Year; Hawaii Lifeguard Surf Instructors as Outstanding Sports Organizations; and the Hawaii Police and Fire departments as Outstanding Public Service organizations.

“We thank you guys so very much,” said Lindsey.

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