This year, we are excited to announce the launch of our new "Rotarian of the Month" recognition program. Every month, a different member of the board will have the opportunity to honor & recognize the service and dedication of one of our club members. This is a great way to highlight some of our incredible members, the work that they do, their time & commitment to our club, and what they are most passionate about. 
 
Check this page monthly to see all of our new honorees, and what their fellow club members have to say about them! 
 

April 2024: Joe Passantino |
Nominated by Rob Welsh, Community Service Director

It is an honor to nominate Principal Joe Passantino for our April Rotarian of the Month recognition. Originally from Las Vegas, Principal Joe has been in Hawaii for 20+ years. Before joining Ke'elikolani Middle School in January 2021, he was at Alli'iolani School. Principal Joe's specialty is Special Education. His wife, Randi, also specializes in Special Education. 

Principal Joe is described by teachers at staff as "Awesome all around" in his work ethic, his "can do" attitude, and his dedication to KMS. It's been said that Principal Joe doesn't know the word "no." If asked to help or do something at KMS, or asked for assistance, he always finds a way to the "yes." 

He always looks forward to family nights at KMS and loves parent engagement. It's not uncommon to look out on the KMS grounds and see Principal Joe out there playing soccer with the students. He's been known to rent water slides, put on his baggies, and get "right in there" with the students.

Principal Joe has strengthened the school's partnership with the Rotary Club of Downtown Honolulu. Through his time, commitment, and ideas, we have been able to support the school and student in new ways. We have worked with Principal Joe on longstanding projects such as Campus Beautification Day, and introduced new efforts like Family Feeder Night, Junior Achievement, Mural Sponsorships, and the newest efforts around Aloha Closets. We are honored to have Principal Joe a part of our club, and excited to present him with this very well deserved recognition.

Mahalo Joe

March 2024: Del Green |
Nominated by Rob Washington, Community Service Director

It is my honor to announce that the winner of the March Rotarian of the Month is someone who has done so much for our club and the entire district and is a true champion of the foundation and Rotary’s Biggest Cheerleader, Del Green. 

Del has held many titles within Rotary, including being a charter member of our club, a former Rotary Club of Downtown Honolulu President, and a District Governor in 2015, and played an essential role in getting us connected with our Sri Lanka sister club. 

Currently, he is spearheading the international conference being held here in Hawaii in 2027 and recently won some pretty cool stuff at a recent Jr Achievement event while supporting a great cause. 

Please join me in welcoming our March Rotarian of the month, Del Green. 

Mahalo Del

February 2024: Kristy Nishida |
Nominated by Nathan Kam, Immediate Past President

Fun, kind, compassionate, caring, genuine, loyal, dependable, positive, warm, joyful, a friend to all, and a servant leader with a heart of gold are just a few words and phrases I would use to describe Kristy. A model Rotarian in every way, I’m grateful to say that she has become a good friend of mine in my five short years as a member of our club. 

Kristy leads by example by showing up consistently for our weekly meetings, is always willing to lend her time to join in on service projects, is a regular (along with her husband) at our social events, and is always inspiring us on Wednesdays with her motivational and inspirational emails filled with the most adorable memes. Where do you find the time, Kristy? 

As we all know, she has been fiercely loyal to our Rotary Club of Downtown Honolulu having been a member since 2007. This does not surprise me as Kristy has also been loyal to her employer First Hawaiian Bank which she joined in 2006 as an investment specialist in Private Wealth Management. In 2021, she was promoted to vice president and team leader in the Investment Services Department. You go woman!

It is with great pride and gratitude that I select Kristy Nishida as our Rotarian of the Month for February 2024. Thank you for all you do to make our club great and for inspiring us all to live our lives to the fullest.

Mahalo Kristy

January 2024: Derek Sayegusa |
Nominated by Jeff Loff, Treasurer

We honored Derek Sayegusa as our January Rotarian of the Month. We reflected on his prior service to the club as President and his role in spearheading the E Paina Kakou dinner event, which raised $20,000. We also want to recognize more than his just his current involvement in Rotary, as Rotary extends beyond what we do each club meeting. Derek is extremely involved in the community as a coach on sports team, his work in continuing to build his business, his service mindset and reflexive nature to help others, and his leadership of the club's second annual Fantasy Football fundraising league. 
 
I first met Derek at my initial "get to know the club" meeting five years ago, in early 2019. Derak and everyone were so welcoming, made me quickly feel at home. My standout member from that time was Derek's role in putting together the February 2020 club fundraiser, the E Paina Kakou dinner. That was one of the most successful fundraising events int he club's history - raising about $20,000 of which half, went directly to KMS. A remarkable achievement and something I'll always remember. 
 
We thank him in particular for his stewardship of Fantasy Football as it is more than just a league - it brings fun and camaraderie for our club members, and raised about $1,000 for the club each year. In August, when our club was in a bind with an overabundance of donation & supplies at our Back to School Supply & Maui Fire Relief Drive, Derek was able to coordinate a flatbed to help us shuttle items from our donation pick-up location to the Pier. 
 
Derek's actions past and present embody the Rotary spirit of service and we are proud to honor him as our January Rotarian of the Month. This month's award isn't about being here every day, but instead is higher level, recognizing the mindset and actions that embody the Rotary spirit of service. I'm thankful to have met Derek, appreciative of his genuine nature to help other people and to help the club, and I'm proud to recognize him as this month's Rotarian of the Month.
 
Mahalo Derek

December 2023: Mary Fastenau |
Nominated by Pedro Haro, Professional Development Director

It is with great pleasure that we honor a remarkable individual as our Rotarian of the Month. This distinction is bestowed upon none other than one of our Charter members, Mary Fastenau, whose journey from the heartland of Nebraska, to the shores of Honolulu is as inspiring as it is extraordinary.
 
Hailing from the humble Bertrand, Nebraska, Mary's adventurous spirit led her to set sail, quite literally, on a new chapter of her life over 30 years ago. A farm girl at heart, she embarked on a unique voyage to Hawaii with her husband, embodying the resilience and determination that would come to define her presence in our community.
 
Beyond her roots, Mary's infectious laughter and warm demeanor have made her a cherished member of our Rotary family. A journalism major from the University of Nebraska, she transitioned from covering the police beat in Indiana to becoming a Senior Partner at Anthology Marketing, a FINN Partner Group, showcasing her adaptability and prowess in the professional realm.
 
True to her family heritage, Mary has been a stalwart leader in the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, drawing strength and inspiration from her its values. Her connection to Doubting Thomas in the Bible serves as a testament to her unwavering faith and resilience in the face of challenges.
 
Mary's commitment to service extends far beyond our Rotary club. She willingly lends her time and expertise to various charitable causes, having served on the boards of Nā Koa football club, Patsy T. Mink Center for Business and Leadership, Hawaiʻi Public Radio, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association Lung Force Women’s Cabinet, where she is a founding member.
 
As a leader and mentor, Mary is known for giving those she guides the wings to soar. Her influence and impact reach far and wide, reflecting the very essence of what it means to be a Rotarian. Today, we celebrate Mary Fastenau, a beacon of inspiration, a dedicated community leader, and our well-deserving Rotarian of the Month.
 
Mahalo Mary

November 2023: Patrick Dugan |
Nominated by Sean Slentz, Membership Director

I chose Patrick Dugan as our Rotarian of the Month for November. 

Pat Dugan has been a member of our club since 2020.  He always makes time for club volunteer projects and meetings despite his busy schedule as the Senior VP of Public Relations at Anthology Group/Finn Partners. Patrick has served non-profit, corporate and government clients in Hawaii for over 25 years.  In doing so he has made great connections within our community.  He represents the ideals of service and represents our club well. 

"He possesses a strong background in strategic planning and corporate communications, has led numerous public information programs, is an exceptional writer, and has cultivated solid, invaluable working relationships with members of Hawaii’s news media.” – taken from his official bio.

Patrick is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in communication. Patrick is not only a Rotary volunteer at Keelikolani Middle School and in our downtown Honolulu community, he serves as a volunteer board member of Duke’s OceanFest. and on the Steering committee of the Hawaii Bowl.  He is also a dedicated father and grandfather.  

He also found me wandering in the parking garage this morning and guided me into the meeting through the VIP garage entrance.

Mahalo Pat

October 2023: David Tsuda |
Nominated by Jeannette Corpuz, International Service Director

I selected David Tsuda as our Rotarian of the Month for October to recognize all that he does for Rotary and the community. David has been a devoted Rotarian for 23 years. He started his journey in Rotary when his colleague, Carl Yamamoto of First Hawaiian Bank, invited him to one of the meetings for the Rotary Club of East Honolulu. David served that very club as President in 2005, prior to, he held roles as Treasurer and Secretary of the club. He also served as the Treasurer for the District Conference and has attended numerous district conferences. David is also a Paul Harris Fellow.

Even on vacation, David still finds the time to visit a Rotary meeting such as in Manila Philippines, Singapore, and Shanghai China. David also serves the community as Board President of Po’ailani Inc, a substance abuse treatment center, Board President of Palama Settlement, Board Treasurer of Associated Builders and Contractors (Hawaii Chapter) and serves as Trustee on two family trusts. As you can see, David stands by the motto of “service above self.” With all that he does for the community, he still finds time to golf once a week and cheer on his favorite NFL team, The Cowboys. David attributes his passion for service from learning by those who he considers his lifelong mentors, Corbett Kalama, and Donald (Donni) Yannell. Both of whom he worked for at First Hawaiian Bank.

Mahalo David

September 2023: Judy Kalbrener |
Nominated by Rodney Lee, Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation (HRYF) Chair
 

I'm nominating Judy Kalbrener as our club's Rotarian of the Month for September because of her long term commitment and service to our club. Judy is not only a longtime club member, she is one of only 3 remaining active charter members in our club. As September is Foodland's "Give Aloha" month which benefits HRYF, this award is especially timely as Judy has always been dedicated to and super supportive of HRYF. As our HRYF chair, I have been very appreciative of all of the support Judy has given to our club and our district's HRYF efforts. Additionally, Judy has always been welcoming to all club members, has made all of our new club members feel welcome and right at home, and has served as a club officer for many years, helping advance and shape our club to be what it is today. 

Mahalo Judy

August 2023: Wade Nakashima |
Nominated by Kim Fujiuchi, Foundation Chair
 

I chose Wade as August's Rotarian of the Month for the many things he does for our club, many of which he quietly does in the background without any recognition. Wade is not only a past President that is still incredibly involved in the club, he is also involved with the Renaissance Program at Ke'elikolani Middle School, helps coordinate our club's annual Back to School Supply Drive, manages/coordinates our club "Rotarian at Work" t-shirts, and is involved & supports with many many other Rotary club & KMS initiatives and efforts. On top of all of this, Wade used to coach the After School basketball program... another great example of how Wade truly exhibits Service Above Self and his commitment to KMS and our community, day in and day out.

Mahalo Wade

July 2023: Rose Chu |
Nominated by Kathy Fay, Secretary
 

This month I would like to honor Rose Chu. Rose has been a member of our club for 15 years – July is her Rotary anniversary month.  She’s is a past president of the club and a Paul Harris Fellow +5.

I chose Rose for this award because of her loyalty and support for our club and the unflagging enthusiasm that she brings to every Rotary event she participates in – often dancing in her famous Monkey Mask.  She is committed to our club’s success and can be counted to show up when there is a need. 

Rose's service extends outside of Rotary.  She is a loyal volunteer at the Pantry where she seems to have learned the entire operation and is happy to lend a hand for whatever needs to be done. 

Finally, we know that Rose has a caring spirit. Those of us who have been with the club for a while will remember her support of our late member Tom Knoll, helping him to attend our meetings and events and keeping him involved in our club. And the long distance care she provided to her cousin in New York who battled cancer. She sincerely cares about people.

In all aspects, Rose lives the Rotary 4 Way test and we are fortunate to have her as a member of our club.

Mahalo Rose