In celebration of March as National and State Brain Injury Awareness month, our client, Maleko, his wife Renee, and his service puppy-in-training Kalei were featured guests on yesterday’s morning show on KITV.
KITV reporter Mehealani Richardson spoke with Maleko and Renee Vagi and Mary Wilson, R.N./Executive Director of BIA-HI about their inspirational story: Maleko was injured while installing a garage door in February of 2008. Due to the defective cables given to him by the garage door company, Maleko sustained skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury. Renee contacted us following Mark’s injury. We met with the Vagis on Maui to initiate their products liability case. In addition to a successful conclusion of the case, we are particularly proud of our advocacy in obtaining mainland-based transitional living rehabilitation for our client even though the family’s medical insurance company had denied the services twice after Maleko’s doctor had requested it. After successful rehabilitation and settlement of Maleko’s claim, our office’s continued relationship with the Vagis has culminated in its support and promotion of the Vagi’s Living Pono Project and the Malama Service Dog Program.
The Living Pono Project and Malama Service Dog Program is an example of a partnership that addresses the specific cultural aspects of a person with TBI living in the State of Hawaii through training and education of disabled persons while providing specific assistance to persons with traumatic brain injury through the use of service dogs. The goal of merging the Living Pono Project with the Malama Service Dog Program is to allow a person with TBI to successfully live and work in Hawaii and to avoid unnecessary or inappropriate institutional placement or even worse, out of state placement.
We are proud to continue our support of the Vagis in their efforts to enhance community brain injury awareness, as well as their grassroots effort to provide assistance to persons with traumatic brain injury in Hawaii. We felt well rewarded for our efforts when we received our client’s recent email: Because of the unbelievable compassion and interest and true care you have all put into us, it has turned out our path is not just to breed these incredible farm dogs for homesteads, but we can also provide service dogs, and we are wanting them to be brain injury specific. We cannot thank you all so much for the path we have been sent on. Much much much much much mahalo to you all! Maleko and Renee
Haiku English ShephersThe Vagis will be featured speakers at the Wednesday, March 27, 2013 Brain Injury Resource Center’s Open House at the Richards Street YWCA. This open house is sponsored by our firm and combines informational and interactive sessions about brain injury as well as an explanation of the BIRC program. The Open House is part of the Brain Injury Association of Hawaii’s celebration of Brain Injury Awareness Month 2013.
Click here to visit Malama Service Dogs headquarters