From Our Files
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Harry Kim spends most of his time looking after people in distress. In 1990, he was the Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator. Kim is the coordinator among federal, state, county and private agencies during times of disaster. And the Big Island has a track record of tsunamis and lava flows. Does the job ever get emotional? “I guarantee you that, whatever emergency we respond to, it’s not possible to be emotionally detached,” he says. Kim himself weathered a disaster—the 1960 tsunami. “I was a student at Hilo College. I lost several friends, everybody did.” Kim become the Big Island mayor in 2000 and was in office for two terms.
Punahou School has a building named after him and an H-1 freeway off-ramp bears his name. But did you know that there is a train in Cuzco, Peru with his name? That’s because Hiram Bingham III, born and raised in Honolulu, also re-discovered the great, lost Incan city he dubbed Machu Picchu, or Old Peak. He made his discovery during three expeditions to Peru, between 1911 and 1916. “The desire to serve and the allure of remote places that had made missionaries of his father and grandfather would also manifest in Hiram III,” writes HONOLULU. However, he became an explorer, not a missionary. He later wrote a book about his work. Bingham passed away in 1957.