Aloha, Kroc Center

Listen to this article


The West’s newest Kroc Center is dedicated in Hawaii.

By Bob Docter

The impossible dream has become a reality on the island of Oahu.

“Isn’t it terrific when dreams come true,” Commissioner James Knaggs, Western territorial commander, said before several hundred guests at the dedication ceremony of the West’s newest Kroc Center. “A multitude of dreams will come true here. This is the ‘gathering place,’ the place for ‘ohana’ [family], a home away from home, a place for inclusivity and outreach, a place where relationships are built that honor the Hawaiian culture and Joan Kroc’s vision. This is a place to feel loved.”

Hawaiians—overcome with the beauty, potential, size and mission of the center—assembled in late January to celebrate and dedicate this remarkable gift to Hawaii from Kroc, The Salvation Army and volunteers. Five years of planning, negotiating, working and developing the center have come to fruition. Built on 15 acres in Kapolei, West Oahu, at a cost exceeding $130 million, the more than 200,000 square feet of space within several buildings support an array of programs. “The product exceeds my wildest hopes,” one guest said.

The three-day event began with “E Komo Mai” (welcome) in which Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Divis-ional Commander Major Edward Hill and the Kroc Center Administrator Major Phil Lum greeted 300 guests at the center’s worship and performing arts center. “We want the focus this evening to be on the people who helped bring it to this point,” Hill said. “This is a place of hope, light and spirituality to be used for Christ. We will be the stewards of this magnificent resource for generations.”

Lum, raised in Hawaii, noted the presence of God in the completion of the entire project. “The cross on top of this building serves as a beacon, a light on a hill, a bright beam of hope for the islands,” he said.

Don Horner, retired Bank of Hawaii president and chairperson of the Kroc Center steering committee, and Murray Bawden, chairperson of the construction committee, introduced a dozen or so significant people and groups in making the center a reality. “It’s been a long and rewarding journey, and today marks an end of the beginning,” Horner said. “The confidence of Army leadership and a small band of ‘crazies’ made this happen.” Knaggs and Hill later presented Horner with The Salvation Army’s “Others” award.

The following morning, the public dedication of the facility included 3,000 residents of West Oahu and a number of dignitaries, including Lt. Governor Brian Schatz and Congresswomen Colleen Hanabusa who praised the Army for recognizing the need in this community. Amy Ragen, granddaughter of Joan Kroc, said she felt honored to represent the family and described the place as having a “divine pull.” She said, “I can feel the energy to my bones.”

Drawing upon Psalm 127, Knaggs offered the dedicatory address. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain [Ps. 127:1],” he read. “Now, we build upon that which he has built, and this center is the beginning of the building.”

The Territorial Youth Band, led by Richard Opina, provided music throughout the dedication weekend.

On day three, a capacity audience including soldiers and friends of the Leeward Corps filled the 500-seat worship and performing arts center for a Sunday morning worship service. The corps will now make this facility its home. Bram Begonia, corps sergeant major, said, “The Lord yields the crop. He does the hard work. All we have to do is sow the seeds.”

Knaggs used verses from Joshua 1 for the morning’s message. “We, too, have been led into the Promised Land for this center, this corps, is a promise from God,” he said. “God is telling us to ‘get ready’ for there are no limits to the promise of God. The Promised Land had little to do with the land and much to do with the promise—the promise of the Messiah, fulfilled in the coming of Jesus.

“Yesterday we dedicated the buildings,” Knaggs said. “Today, we dedicate the people.”

Harvest Initiative set for implementation

Harvest Initiative set for implementation

Territorial vision to connect corps and ARC

Salvation Army volunteer receives national honor

Salvation Army volunteer receives national honor

Presidential volunteer award presented to Denver’s Sam Snyder

You May Also Like