VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been more than a month since the wildfires in Maui began. At least 115 people have died and 66 are still missing. On Monday, the Virginia Beach firefighter community raised money for the responders on Maui who lost everything.
They gathered at Shorebreak Pizza and Taphouse on Shore Drive to raise money.
Joe and Laura Landi are stationed in Virginia Beach with the Navy, but their focus is on their hometown of Maui.
“Tonight is all about the Maui firefighter and first responder families. I’m a Maui firefighter here on reserve orders for a year,” said Maui native and firefighter Joe Landi.
When the wildfires burned, the Landis joined forces with the Virginia Beach Fire Department and veteran-owned businesses to help fellow first responders on Maui.
“We actually know the 14 families and first responders who lost their homes, so we’re keeping it on a small scale and we want to focus on those families,” said Joe’s wife, Laura.
The couple’s daughter, Summer, remains hopeful.
“It’s really sad about the fires in Maui, but everybody there, since we’re doing the fundraiser, we’ll help them get their houses back,” Summer Landi said.
In the process, they met Travis Calvan, a Virginia Beach firefighter who was born and raised on Maui.
“This means a lot,” Calvan told 10 On Your Side. “A lot of my friends, a lot of my family, my brother actually, his engine was burnt up, so it hits close to home. That was his crew and everything, and a lot of our friends lost their homes.”
Calvan’s brother worked with Landi in Hawaii. On Monday, the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, the two coordinated a fundraiser at Shorebreak to support their fellow first responders who lost their homes while they raced to contain the wildfires.
“A wonderful day for us to celebrate those who sacrificed everything to our country, to give back to our local communities,” Joe Landi said.
Salvage USA, Primo Cigars, Makai Metal Works, Pale Horse Coffee, Shorebreak, Hot Tuna and Guided Confident Careers donated gifts for the raffle drawing.