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Robert Via Honored As Red Cross Oahu Volunteer Of The Year

Robert Via will be honored as the 2012 Red Cross Oahu Volunteer of the Year at the Red Cross Heroes Breakfast on October 13, 2012. Hawaii News Now will be recognizing this week as Red Cross Heroes Week; for more information, please go to

A Korean War hero, Robert “Uncle Bob” Via began volunteering with the Red Cross in 1951. While stationed in the Army in Japan, he realized that he didn’t really know how to breathe in the water or stroke properly, although he had surfed and swam “Hawaiian style” for years. After mastering aquatic skills in the Army, Via became the water safety director for various military branches, U.N. and Red Cross. Upon retiring from the military, he became the Kaneohe District Park Pool Manager and taught hundreds of children to swim, and lifesaving techniques to Water Safety Instructors and lifeguards. Uncle Bob has logged in over 13,000 volunteer hours teaching Red Cross aquatic lifesaving skills. At 85 years of age, he continues to teach Red Cross swim classes and schedules quarterly lifeguard and instructor trainings. Bob says, “The first thing I try to teach kids is to not be afraid of the water, the rest will come.” Having trained over 20,000 people how to swim and still continuing to do so is a credit to the passion he has in saving lives.

The Red Cross is a non-profit humanitarian organization which provides assistance to meet the immediate emergency needs of those affected by disasters. All Red Cross assistance to disaster victims is free. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it depends on public contributions to help others. Your gift supports the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross in your community, across the country and around the world. To send a contribution, mail your check to: American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter, 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI 96816 or make a secure online donation at or call: (808) 739-8109.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at