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NEWS | June 1, 2024

Mana O Ke Koa Award Ceremony 2024

By Staff Sgt. Shanae Garrett U.S. Army Pacific

FORT SHAFTER, Hawai'i—Jennifer Sabas worked with U.S. Senator Inouye for more than 25 years in Honolulu and Washington, D.C., serving as his Chief of Staff for more than a decade. As Inouye's Chief of Staff, Jennifer came to understand and value aloha and advocate for the commands and their missions in Hawai'i.

She managed legislative agendas on all areas important to Hawai'i and served as Senator's political confidant and lead in D.C. and Hawai'i. Sizable investments were made to propel Hawai'i forward with exciting opportunities for the future.

With the Senator's passing in 2012, she established the Daniel K Inouye Institute at the Hawai'i Community Foundation to carry forward his legacy through various initiatives nationally, internationally, and in Hawai'i.
The Mana O Ke Koa (Spirit of the Warrior) award is presented each year to individuals who have distinguished themselves by their unwavering support to Soldiers and their families.

Due to Sabas's large contribution and commitment to the Army community in the Pacific, she was awarded the United States Army Pacific Mana O Ke Koa award on May 31.

During a ceremony on Palm Circle, USARPAC Commanding General Gen. Charles A. Flynn presented the prestigious community service award to Sabas and stated, “this award, Jen, it is about what you’ve done but it’s also about what you continue to do and what you represent.”

Jennifer provides leadership to nonprofits, including the Military Affairs Council, Move Oahu Forward, Pacific Intelligence and Innovation Initiative (P3I), and the Hawai'i Defense Alliance.

From November 2014 to the present, she has aided in identifying new opportunities such as data analysis and cyber, health, and resiliency. Sabas has worked with the senior University of Hawai'i (UH) team to enhance their federal research portfolio in their areas of national expertise in oceanography, astronomy and renewable energy.

Ms. Jennifer Sabas is a former co-director and now board member of Cyber Hawai'i. Cyber Hawai'i as a nonprofit tied to a national Cyber USA network. She helped develop cross-sector membership and partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, and state, and local governments.

As a senior consultant to the Military Affairs Council, she has helped to expand the membership and restructured the organization into a multi-tiered, proactive advocate of stature, connecting the military leadership with local government, business, and community.

“There are big issues and large hurdles that lay ahead of us, there are difficult conversations that must occur as we move forward, what lays ahead is incredibility important to the Army and to our nation,” Sabas.

The inaugural Mana O Ke Koa award was presented in 2007, and each year the award continues to symbolize the commitment to recognizing and fostering positive relations between the local community and the Army. This year marks the 16th anniversary of the award.

Below is a list of past Mana O Ke Koa award recipients:
• 2007- William W. Paty, Jr. (Legendary Hawai'i WWII Veteran, D-Day Paratrooper, POW; Civic Leader and Civilian Aide to SECARMY Emeritus)
• 2008- Ms. Pasha Baker (Employer Support to Guard and Reserve Ambassador, Civic Leader)
• 2009- Hon. Linda Lingle (Hawai'i Governor, Military Supporter/Army Community Covenant)
• 2010- Mr. Ken Bailey (Chamber of Commerce Armed Services Committee)
• 2011- Ms. Carole Kai (Great Aloha Run founder, Carole Kai Charities have made donations to Army MWR)
• 2012- Mr. Albert Silva (Outspoken Army Supporter, Waianae Civilian Advisory Board, Makua Military Reservation)
• 2013- Senator Daniel K. Inouye (Legendary Hawai'i Soldier and Statesman, Posthumous)
• 2014- Mr. David Carey (Military Supporter, Outrigger CEO, Hawai'i Chamber of Commerce)
• 2015- Hon. Ed Kubo (Hawai'i Judge, Veterans Treatment Court)
• 2016- Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (Legendary Hawai'i Soldier and Statesman)
• 2017- Rep. K. Mark Takai (Hawai'i Soldier/Statesman, Posthumous)
• 2018- Mr. Allen K. Hoe (Vietnam Veteran, Civ Aide to SECARMY)
• 2019- Ed Gayagas (Vietnam Veteran, University of Hawai'i Fallen Warrior Memorial)
• 2020- Domingo Los Banos (World War II veteran, Outspoken Filipino veteran supporter, Posthumous)
• 2021- Maj. Gen. (Retired) Robert Lee (Former Hawai'i Adjutant General, Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition advocate)
• 2022- Gen. (Retired) David Bramlett (Vietnam War infantryman, Former U.S. Army Forces Command commander)
• 2023- Command Sgt. Maj. (Retired) Henry N.J. Lee (WWII, Korea, Vietnam veteran, Posthumous)