Hall of Famer Don Nelson continues his aid after Maui wildfires: ‘We need your help’

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Former basketball coach and player Don Nelson has been kept busy this past couple of weeks ever since the wildfires devasted most of his hometown Maui in Hawaii. The Hall of Famer is among the people who are completely dedicated to the recovery of their community after this mortal tragedy.

Sugar Beach Events, which is owned by his daughter Lee Johnson, used to be known for the perfect beachside venue for weddings. However, today it has been turned into a donation hub and kitchen to feed people who recently lost their homes.

“Sugar Beach Events is right next to my house. So my daughter has opened up Sugar Beach to serve about a thousand people a day, and coming in for food. So we’re just doing our part, just a very minor part. There are so many big parts left to the puzzle,” said Nelson, who has been a full-time resident of Maui for more than a decade.

Take a look inside the horrors of the tragic fires that have taken the lives of at least 70 Hawaiian residents:

During his time as a professional athlete, Don played with the Boston Celtics and won five NBA titles during his career. As a coach, he led the Bucks, Knicks, Mavericks and Warriors rosters until he became the second all-time trainer to reach most victories.

The 83-year-old now plays for a new team, one dedicated to save lives and help his community recover from disaster.

“In sports you learn teamwork, and that’s what really is going on right now on the island is teamwork. In the most minor ways, like myself pitching in, and also there are some major contributors to what’s going on here in a big way. But we need your help. If you can afford to send something to one of the beautiful charities trying to help. It would be appreciated,” he expressed.

Nelson assures that part of the Hawaiian nature is to help each other and work together as a community

One of his first actions after the fires devastated Maui, was to let six families stay in his rental properties for free, as he’s proud to be a part of this Hawaiian community.

“No, that’s the way people are in Hawaii. They immediately help one another. And I’m very proud to be part of that,” he said.

Other volunteers share the same sentiment. “It’s such a beautiful thing to see all these people come together, all this community come together. I’ve never seen anything like Hawaii, they really show up because we love each other, we’re a community,” said Sugar Beach participant, Renee Kammrad.

Even though the former NBA star didn’t lose any friends in the tragedy, he does know a lot of people who lost their residences and businesses these past weeks.

“When I saw the devastation, it was like a spike in my heart. Many people, of course, have had dinner there over the years, and I’ve had some dear friends, like Bob Longhi of Long’s Restaurant is completely gone. His house on Front Street is completely gone. It’s very, very sad,” Nelson lamented.