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Neighbors Helping Neighbors

When a family lost their home to a wildfire in Lahaina, on the island of Maui, a local builder volunteered his time and skills.

View from behind of three people standing next to each other and holding hands, with the man in the middle wearing a shirt that reads Lahaina Strong.

Mario Tama/Getty Images News

When a wildfire swept through the town of Lahaina, on the island of Maui, thousands of people lost their homes. William Fincher and his family were among them. But thanks to the kindness of a local builder, the Finchers will soon have a new place to live.

Just days after the fire, builder Juan Ricci was already ordering the materials to build two tiny homes—smaller than average homes—with enough space for Fincher, his wife, their two kids, and their two dogs. Ricci paid for the materials out of his own pocket, and he and his crew are donating their time and skills. Fincher is helping. He’s not a professional builder, so Ricci’s crew is guiding him along.

“I’m good with tools, but I don’t know how to frame or put roofs on or lay foundation, electrical, you know, none of this stuff,” Fincher told ABC News. “Juan does, and Juan has the [workers] that know how to do this stuff.”

As of October, the land affected by the fire was not yet fit for rebuilding—officials were still clearing it of debris. That means it will be a long time before the Finchers and other residents can rebuild on their own land. Instead, Ricci’s crew is building the Finchers’ tiny homes on land owned by a family friend. 

Construction isn’t cheap. So Ricci, who has his own bills to pay, set up a GoFundMe, a type of web page on which people can ask for donations. As of October, the page had raised nearly $19,000 out of a $100,000 goal.

“That’s the idea, to raise some money and keep going and start paying the guys that have been working, helping the people,” Ricci told Good Morning America. He’s hoping to use some of the funds to build homes for other Lahaina families as well.

“Everybody’s trying to help out right now,” Ricci said.

NEWS EXTRA

Rangers Win World Series

Members of the Texas Rangers smile and embrace one another on the field.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images Sport

For the first time in their 63-year history, the Texas Rangers are World Series champions. The Rangers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0 in Game 5 of the series, despite not getting any hits for the first six innings. The Rangers came roaring to life in the seventh inning after Corey Seager’s bat connected with the ball for the first hit of the game.

“It’s just awesome. This is the vision, right?” Seager, the World Series MVP, told the Associated Press. “It’s a really special moment.”

Did You Know?

Map showing the location of Maui and Lahaina in the Hawaiian islands and the location of the islands in the ocean, as well as a photo of a beach on Maui.

© Dowin Photography/stock.adobe.com; Illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Between 1820 and 1845, Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Native Hawaiians Speak Out

Mengshin Lin—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Ke’eaumoku Kapu is a native rights activist and founder of a cultural center that was destroyed in the Lahaina fire.

When a wildfire destroyed most of Lahaina, thousands of people lost their homes. But something else was lost, too.

Lahaina is an important part of Native Hawaiian history. The city was once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which existed until 1893, when the U.S. government overthrew Queen Lili’uoukalani and made Hawaii part of the United States. When the fire broke out, many historic and sacred native places were destroyed. More than a century after Native Hawaiians lost control of the islands, the fire was another huge loss to their community.

Native Hawaiians say it’s important that they be part of the process of rebuilding Lahaina to ensure that their history and culture are respected and preserved.

“Give us time to heal [from this loss],” native rights activist Ke’eaumoku Kapu said, as reported by PBS News Hour. “And be open and allow us to sit at that table so we can be a part of the solution.”

Hawaii’s Queen

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-stereo-1s12029, LC-USZ62-105894)

The photos above show Queen Lili’uoukalani, Hawaii’s last monarch, and her former palace. You can read more about Queen Lili’uoukalani at Britannica.

WORD OF THE DAY

revivify

PART OF SPEECH:
verb
Definition:

: to make (someone or something) strong, healthy, or active again

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