women selfie in new home

Resilience: How One Teacher Keeps Moving Forward

Imagine finally making moves to start a new life with three young children. These types of big decisions do not come easily, quickly nor without bravery. And yet somehow when it is time and when it is necessary, we find the strength to make big changes. Even when we feel small.

Carla Reader Hazlet is one of these types of women. Resilient. She is a teacher at Lahaina Intermediate and is an adventurous and loving Mother to 3 beautifully vibrant children. Her network of friends include like-minded family oriented folks in our community. Over the years we have seen each other at many camping trips at Olowalu, kid’s birthday parties, pizza parties and talk story hangouts with friends. I have always known Carla to have a smile, and an offering hand while always showing a hard-working mentality.


Recently Carla took the brave action to shift the direction of her life.  A decision that many women think about, but less follow through.  Especially when there are factors involved like children.  Changing the baseline of your life when you have spent years building it is not for the faint of heart.  It takes faith, determination, and most importantly action.

After many moving parts and doing all the things that it takes to settle into the start of a new life-relocating, furnishing a house and making it a home, going through the hard tasks of working through a transition when children are involved and continuing to be on the path of her authentic self, Carla was finally home. Time to breathe, time to refresh, time to start her life.  We were all utterly thrilled for her.

And then.  The Fire.

While I won’t go into the personal details of what Carla went through, you can imagine what it must be like to experience the hard work of such a big transition, the relief and feeling of accomplishment that you finally did what you’ve been wanting and needing to do for yourself, the money spent on a new house, new furnishings, all of it. For only less than a couple months later have it all burn to the ground. Everything. All of it. Every. Single. Item.

Carla found herself in a position like many other- shock, dismay, and homelessness. Having to go back to the situation that she just finally moved on from to have a roof over her head, only to have that be so difficult that she then moved to the couch of a friend. A common story these days. Like many of us, Carla is independent and humble. Having to wear everyone else’s clothes, have zero belongings- not a hairbrush, a favorite mug, not a sentimental item is so far out of the comfort zone than anyone can imagine. I talk with people that are victims of the fire or related to victims of the fire every single day while I do my work for Boots on the Ground Maui and I still cannot wrap my mind or heart around the magnitude of losing everything. In a matter of hours.

brother and sister
mom and daughter

Enter Michael Gallagher.  Michael owns a unit at Wailea Ekolu and was referred to me through a Realtor colleague of mine Mary Kerstulovich.  Mary is also a Realtor and she and her partner Hunter own South Maui Fish Company.  A well-loved popular (some might call it famous) fish taco truck that sources all their fish locally.  Located in the Aloha Open Market Place they are an absolute must visit for anyone that loves fish tacos!  Ask for Hunter, ask for Mary.  But don’t leave Maui without stopping by their establishment.

Michael made the decision to help the local community and open up his unit for a victim of the fires.  He also works in Education as a school district superintendent and a long-time board member and past president of Sunnyvale Community Services.  So, this seemed like a perfect pairing.  After a bit of a logistical dance to get things sorted out, we were able to get Carla off the couch where she and the kids were staying with another family of 5.  While it is such a blessing to have someone to let you stay at their home during such a time it is still challenging in so many ways.  Carla was ready for peace and quiet.  And time to start grieving.

Now while I am so happy for Carla that we were able to facilitate getting her off a couch, feeling “like a princess” as she stated upon checking in to the more private and peaceful environment, she faces the same challenge that hundreds of people are facing.  Where do they go next?  This unit is an absolute blessing, it is beautiful, modern, gorgeous and refreshing.  It is also temporary.  And this is a typical story of so many here on the Island. Where to go next?

This question is on everyone’s mind right now.  The State officials, the legislators, the County officials and the community at large.  What’s the next move?  Each day the conversation changes as this is the deadliest fire disaster in over 100 years.  We as a County and a community were unprepared, unexpecting and utterly blindsided by this event.  Communication was and continues to be challenging between the leading officials and the community.  But we all have faith that we will bridge the gap and keep working towards rebuilding and solutions.  We will restore ALOHA.

Carla is beautiful and a uniquely resilient woman.  Blindsided like so many others.  And she will join the ranks of those whose lives are now forever changed because of this.  All of our love and thoughts go to Carla and her children.  She, along with many others will rise above this trauma and it is our job as a global community to help bring these victims, these friends, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, coworkers and children to stability.

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