The Kalaeloa Heritage and Legacy Foundation want our friends and partners to get to know our volunteer docents. We want to introduce them and their stories to you over the next several issues of this newsletter. Amongst these people who give much of themselves in sharing the history of the heritage park is Seann “Tommy” Scott.
Tommy grew up in Waipahu and is currently in his 50s. He is a retired Army Combat Veteran and also a volunteer at the Kapolei Vet Center. His father served 10 years in the Air Force and during those years while his dad was stationed at Hickam their family spent many wonderful times camping at the Nimitz Officers Beach cottages at the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station. Little did Tommy know that 40 years later he would be traveling that same road visiting a little known ancient village lost in time beneath the kiawe on a former military base.
It was many years later while volunteering at the Kapolei Vets Center when a friend asked if he wanted to go on a site tour of the Kalaeloa Heritage Park in Kalaeloa. On the day of the tour he was greeted at the park by a volunteer docent he later came to call “Uncle Shad”. After the routine introductions and traditional chants everyone found their way to a traditional kauhale which served as a gathering place for visitors. Expecting a recitation on only Hawaiian culture he found myself traveling through time and an evolution of many histories. Of travel and challenges experienced by these early visitors to this place. Of how they eventually saw themselves other than their place of origin. How they lived a unique subsistence lifestyle unlike anywhere else in the whole world. Where water traveled underground. Farming was underground and in some cases people lived underground.
He learned that it was not just a Hawaiian history but a Tahitian past. It was a story of travel and migrations. No different than today. In recent times cattle ranching where old western cowboy barbed wire can still found secured to fence post, of sisal farming, of sugar, of trains and lastly a military base. Where subsequent to December 7 an amphibious landing was expected at this very location. Evidence of that can be found in the manner of military defense construction in effort to direct an advancing amphibious assault into areas of fire.
What especially captivated Tommy was the strong spiritual presence associated with the park and it was this aspect that brought him back many times when he finally made the big decision to become a part of it. Tommy is now a part of all of us. Because of Tommy we now have a strong military veterans presence which is only fitting in keeping with its military past. Today many of our volunteers and visitors at the Kalaeloa Heritage Park are Combat Veterans. One of our partners is the Kapolei Vets Center. In closing this is who he is. Our friend and volunteer docent Seann “Tommy” Scott. You may one day have the privilege of hearing him and these stories of the ancient past of a place once known as Kualaka’i.