screenhunter_11-oct-13-16-51VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT A Smile – Special Delivery The North Shore Chamber of Commerce heavily relies on the support of many volunteers who donate their time in a variety of ways. Some of the more visible contributions are those provided by the community members who staff the Chamber’s Visitor Center at 66-434B Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. One of the more well-known volunteers is Joyce Hawkins-Alejandro, a rural mail carrier for many years in the Waialua area. For island visitors and kama’aina alike, her welcoming smile and extensive knowledge of what our area has to offer makes them happy they stopped by.

Born and raised on a farm in Minnesota, Joyce came to Oahu’s North Shore through marriage and circumstance about 45 years ago. Although her experience was limited, she says, “I needed a job bad.” Her dogged determination and a month of intense job hunting resulted in employment tending bar at the old Haleiwa Sands. Then, after seven years, “on a lark” she took a test to work for the Postal Service and “scored the highest.” Again, the stars aligned for her, and within a short time she became a fulltime permanent postal carrier for the Waialua area. That was in 1980, and the job stuck for 33 years. She loved it. She enjoyed all the people she met in her routes and loved being outdoors.

When she retired 2 ½ years ago, she “luxuriated” at home for several months. After spending all those years on the road, it was time to relax and spend some “alone” time. However, after a while she realized she wanted to reconnect with the community. She had just returned from a visit to Minnesota where her brother had become involved in volunteering. That prompted her to consider it, too. She had a lot to give and wanted to do that in a way that would make a difference and be fun at the same time. Since she had helped to start Friends of Waialua Library more than 25 years ago, volunteering there was “a given,” she says. Then a Chamber board member suggested she check into working at the Visitor Center.

That was nearly two years ago. In addition, she also volunteers at the Thrift Shop which supports Wahiawa General Hospital. So what keeps her at the Visitor Center? Three things, she says: helping the community in the best way she can; learning much more about the history of the area; and meeting people from all over the world. Now, with grandkids, dogs to watch out for, and her volunteer work, she says, “My life is pretty full. It’s good…”