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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, October 18, 2002

What sets heroes apart

By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Columnist

Award luncheons are hard.

There you are, in uncomfortable clothes in a big, over-air-conditioned hotel ballroom eating your hotel ballroom luncheon food, far removed from the actual act that is being honored. Sometimes, it's hard to grasp the significance of what the people standing on the little stage holding plaques have actually done out in the real world, away from the neatly folded napkins and the potted palms surrounding the ice sculpture.

This week, 34 "Top Cops" were honored at the annual Law Enforcement and Security Appreciation luncheon. The name is a bit misleading, because there is no one "Top Cop." Instead, police departments, law enforcement agencies, investigators and security organizations from local, state, military, federal and private agencies each nominate their own "Top Cop."

Among the 34 heroes honored at the luncheon were the following:

• Kaua'i police officer Randoph Chong Tim singlehandedly disarmed a man who showed up at the Lihue police headquarters armed with a rifle and threatening to shoot the first cop he saw.

• Chuck Horstman spent 30 years in security with First Hawaiian Bank. He was a leader in investigating and preventing credit card fraud in Hawai'i. Now that he's retired, he still teaches fraud-prevention classes to Hawai'i merchants.

• 'Ihilani security staff members Matthew Williams and Kelly Scullion, along with bell valet Shiloh Ho, found themselves in the middle of a violent attack. A young man had followed two women through the Ko Olina area, shooting at the women's car. One of the women was shot through the hand and in the shoulder. The cars stopped at the 'Ihilani porte cochere. Williams and Ho rushed to the woman's side, alternately giving her first aid and trying to talk the gunman out of shooting them all. When police arrived, Williams and Ho grabbed the woman and, with assistance from Scullion, whisked her off to safety.

• Castle Medical Center security guard Solomon Kamauu Jr. was on duty when he spotted a man getting into a basement elevator with a loaded AR-15 assault rifle. Kamauu managed to hold the elevator door open and get inside with the man, who was saying he was at the hospital to "take care of business." Kamauu got the rifle away from the man and restrained him.

• And receiving a special award, Isaac Ho'opi'i, the Wai'anae-born police officer assigned to the Pentagon who saved 17 people from the wreckage on Sept. 11. He walked as far as he could into the smoke-filled corridors and called for people to head toward his voice. He led the victims to safety. Many, he carried on his back.

As retired Honolulu Police Department Maj. Ed Lingo, Law Enforcement and Security Coalition chairman, told the luncheon crowd: "A hero is just a regular person, the right person who was there at the wrong time, the only one who will run toward the sound of a gunshot when everyone is running away."