Ukes for Troops

'Ukes For Troops' a big hit

For $25, they will send an 'ukulele to a soldier, together with songbooks, a tuner and extra strings. Their Web site is www.ukesfortroops.org

A decent 'ukulele costs $75 and up. But Orlando contacted a manufacturer in Hawai'i who agreed to provide them for $21 each.

Orlando and Coyoli-Cullen didn't know which unit should get the first batch. "We picked a (Hawai'i) National Guard unit because we knew they would appreciate it," Coyoli-Cullen said.

They did. As soon as the ukes arrived, the e-mails followed.

"Our soldiers are not strangers to this instrument, but rather talented music entertainers who've learned how to play the 'ukulele from their 'ohana and our tutus," wrote Lt. Col. Norman Saito, commander of the 29th Support Battalion of the Hawai'i Army National Guard.

"For just a brief moment while playing the 'ukulele and singing happily along, it brings out the best of ourselves; and reminiscing (about) our islands and families back home that we miss so much."

That is just too cool!


- hfs

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