About a year ago, Hale Kipa an organization that provides a range of services for atrisk youths was in the process of renovating an old building to serve as one of its residential homes. Needing assistance on the project, Hale Kipa sought help from the Metropolitan Rotary Club of Honolulu. Rotary volunteers started working on the house on weekends, but a lot of maintenance still needed to be done. So Rotary Club member Rick Villalobos asked his friend Bill Myers, a new volunteer with the organization, if he wanted to help out. Not only did Myers accept, but he also began working on the renovations independently and identified additional projects that needed to be done on the property.
“It turned out that the project was way bigger than they realized,” Myers explains. “Work groups came on the weekends, but since I am retired, I was able to come in the mornings during the week.” For the next two months, Myers worked tirelessly to install new flooring, renovate the kitchen and clean the rain gutters and sidewalks.
Myers, a retired nuclear physicist, spent much of his career at UC-Berkeley and later in life often visited the Islands during sailing races from California to Hawaii. Since moving to Honolulu in 2000, Myers has become a prolific volunteer with a number of organizations.
Through the Rotary Club, Myers also participated in another renovation project for Aloha Medical Mission, installing new flooring in one of its dental facilities. Myers also sorts books for Friends of the Library. Recently, Friends of the Library has been toying with the idea of opening a used-book store, and Myers has designed a mock-up of what the facility could look like.
In addition to his work with these organizations, Myers is a private tutor. He focuses his teaching efforts primarily on math and science, but also covers other topics including literature and geography.
“It’s really fun,” he says. “The thing about tutoring is that I get more out of it than I give. I love to see how the kids benefit.”
When he has free time, Myers also puts his vast sailing knowledge to use through his work with Kaneohe Yacht Club, where he does a number of odd jobs to support the youth sailing program.
Myers chooses to dedicate much of his time to volunteer work simply because he feels it is the right thing to do. “I have all these accumulated life experiences and knowledge and skills, and it just seemed unconscionable to not be employing them,” Myers says.
“Right now, I am waiting to see what comes up next at the Rotary Club,” he says, adding that he recently returned from traveling. Although he hasn’t been back home for long, he is already anxious to return to volunteering. “Now that I am back, I need to get my tutoring started up again and get back into the yacht club work.”