A group of three women at awards presentation

Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Vivian Landrum (left) and Chair Debbie Baker (right) present the 2012 Pualu Award for Community Education to Laurel Gregory.

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce presented Laurel Gregory, a librarian at the University of Hawaiʻi Center, West Hawaiʻi, with the 2012 Pualu Award for Community Education.

The Pualu Award for Community Education honors an individual or organization that promotes and supports education and enrichment programs that develop personal skills and lifelong learning.

Gregory was honored for her efforts to increase access and interest in higher education on Hawaiʻi Island.

As the UH Center, West Hawaiʻi librarian, Gregory is hailed by staff for turning the library into a student-friendly and welcoming resource center that encourages both on-campus and distance learning students to expand their educational opportunities.

For the past decade, Gregory has also been a member of the Kona Branch of the American Association of University Women.

She has been instrumental in the group’s community programs for continued education, including Women in Transition and GEMS, or Girls Exploring Math and Science. Women in Transition is a program that encourages women to enter or re-enter college after having been out of the system working and/or caring for a family. GEMS is a program to expand girls’ awareness of math and science-related careers.

2012 Pualu Award

The Pualu Award was established by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce to honor outstanding individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations in West Hawaiʻi for their dedication and hard work in the community. The Hawaiian word pualu means “to work together.”

Nine winners in seven categories were recognized at the organization’s annual Installation Banquet and Membership Luncheon held in June at the Four Seasons Resort Hualālai.