George Ehara, VP & Division Manager of Swinerton Builders with a keiki donating to the angel tree.

Acts of Aloha: Need Knows No Season

Swinerton Builders has participated in The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree and has grown their amount of giving every year.

December, 2016

In business the numbers don’t lie and the same goes for giving. For the past seven years, Swinerton Builders has participated in The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program and this year they’re doubling their charitable donations, increasing their impact to help families year round.

“Angel Tree is one of our favorite holiday programs where individuals or families can donate a Christmas present to a disadvantaged keiki or kupuna in need,” explains Major John Chamness, The Salvation Army divisional commander of the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division. “Anyone can go down to the shopping mall or toy store, purchase a gift for a specific child and that child will actually receive that gift. I think it’s a way for a community to give back in a really tangible way where they can bring happiness to someone who is struggling this Christmas.”

“Every year, The Salvation Army provides over 35,000 gifts to kids and seniors statewide. So when a company like Swinerton [Builders] steps in to support this program, they help us ensure every family in our community is shown grace and care during Christmas,” says Major Chamness.

According to George Ehara, vice president & division manager of Swinerton Builders, his employees’ response to The Salvation Army Angel Tree program has been “overwhelming.” So much so that the commercial construction company has increased their goal every year.

“This will be our seventh year participating in the Angel Tree program and the first year, I think we adopted around 50 Angels,” says Ehara. “Each year, we increase our goal as a company, and each year our people surpass our expectations. This year we will be adopting between 200-250 Angels – this is less than
100 employees adopting over 200 Angels!”

“For Swinerton Builders, the most gratifying part of participating in The Salvation Army Angel Tree program is knowing that we are buying a gift for someone in need says Ehara.

“The Angel Tree program is something very personal that each of us can do to support children and seniors in need. When you adopt an Angel you are making a small difference in one person’s life – you know their name, their age, and what they want for Christmas. When you are shopping for that person, it is very easy to imagine that person opening their gift on Christmas Day and the joy and love that they will feel,” he says.

Swinerton Builders renovated The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center by updating the kitchen, bedrooms and living space. (From left to right: David Chung, Captain Ron McKinney, Ronson Fox, George Ehara and Michael Kast).

Swinerton Builders renovated The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center by updating the kitchen, bedrooms and living space. (From left to right: David Chung, Captain Ron McKinney, Ronson Fox, George Ehara and Michael Kast).

“When that compassion is ignited, you realize in a very real way how good it feels to make a difference in another person’s life. It feels good, and you want to do more. The Salvation Army Angel Tree program will not solve all of the problems in our community, but it brings out the best in our people and encourages them to reach outside of themselves to help people in other ways as well.”

It’s not just the holiday season that compels Swinerton Builders employees to give. Their acts of Aloha extend throughout the year with other Salvation Army programs.

“Companies like Swinerton also help us provide critical programs in Hawaii all year. They donate to our Family Services Office, which provides struggling families meals, budgeting classes, and even case management. Support like this help us get families off the street and into homes,” said Major Chamness. The Salvation Army hopes to partner with more local companies and organizations like Swinerton Builders to serve those in need through the following areas: homeless outreach, basic needs assistance, youth and senior services, and emergency disaster services and more.


Acts of Aloha are appreciated and needed year-round. Here are five areas you and your company can contribute to The Salvation Army’s ongoing charitable efforts across the State:

{1} Family Services

The Salvation Army provides Family Services across all islands, serving thousands each year through homeless outreach, budgeting classes, and food distribution.

{2} Emergency Disaster Services

The Salvation Army provides food, basic items, and spiritual comfort to first responders and victims of disasters.

{3} Adult Day Health Services

Many families are not able to afford daily care for their elderly loved ones. The Salvation Army provides affordable therapy, activities, and health services for kupuna that attend their day care in Honolulu.

{4} Rehabilitation

The Salvation Army has three facilities on Oahu that serve those struggling with substance abuse. The Addiction Treatment Services, Family Treatment Services (for mothers and their babies), and the Adult Rehablitation Center (for men) are programs that incorporate case management to ensure clients are able to become contributing members of the community.

{5} Serving At-Risk Youth

Thousands of at-risk or homeless local children are served through The Salvation Army’s Camp Homelani on Oahu’s North Shore and after school programs across the State of Hawaii. The Family Intervention Services on Hawaii Island and Maui serve at-risk youth through its shelters, counseling, and case management.

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