SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Kathy Haddock and her family were vacationing in Hawaii in February, but due to the deadly wildfires in Maui, it looks a lot different now.
“It was really devastating. Everybody there is wonderful and just to think that they’re losing their homes and their cities. It’s so awful, I can’t even imagine that. That’s heartbreaking,” said Kathy Haddock, Sioux Falls resident.
Currently, the west side of the island has been taken over by wildfires that have intensified by strong hurricane winds.
“Everybody was lovely. And we love your islands and we’re just really sad and devastated at the news and seeing everything burned. That’s really really, really sad,” said Haddock.
Her and her family were planning to go back in January with the help of local travel agent Leah Jones.
“So we’re going to get them to another island. I know that Maui is going to need all those tourism dollars, but now’s not the time,” said Leah Jones, owner of Jetset Travel Services.
She says this wouldn’t be the first time she’s had to alter clients’ plans due to natural disasters.
“We had a family that was set to leave in a week and then the hurricanes hit. So we had to work with the residents that they were staying with them and get that worked around,” said Jones.
Jones is optimistic the communities there will rebuild.
“But I know it’s resilient. They’ll come back and when they’re ready, we’re happy to send travelers back to Maui for them,” said Jones.
She says obstacles like this are a part of the job.
“But you have to really think on your toes you have to be balanced and problem solve and try to get the best outcome for the clients,” said Jones.
As for Haddock, her memories of Hawaii will always have a special place in her heart.
“Everybody was super nice and you just see things you never would have thought you’d see and hear lots of stories and legends and learn all about their culture,” said Haddock.
Here is a list of a few fundraisers to help out those in Hawaii.