The year was 1982 and I was 14 years old. At the time my mother, Cynthia Thielen, was one of the attorneys suing the Federal Government to stop the bombing of Kaho’olawe. We were driving in the car one day and she was discussing the case with me. We passed one of those roadside marker signs with the image of Kamehameha proudly pointing out a landmark. An idea popped into my head and I began to describe it to my mom. At first she wasn’t sure, but the more detail I gave her the more she saw it as a powerful image. She took my idea to Corky Trinidad at the Star Bulletin who brought my idea to life in this image
Corky inscribed a personal message to me and gave me his original drawing with this message as a gift. The message reads “To Greg – With personal regards and Aloha. Keep Punching, Brah”. For nearly 40 years now I have carried this with me and kept it close to me. It currently hangs proudly in my office just above my desk where I look at it daily.
Corky Trinidad’s words have come to mean as much to me as the image itself. The idea that you don’t back down, you stand up. The idea that a punch or fighting for something wasn’t physical, it was the mental right hook you gave with words and concepts. In creating my business there were days where I felt literally pummeled by circumstance and I would get back up and keep punching. There were times where life extracted a heavy toll and made me feel like I couldn’t continue, but I got back up and kept on punching. As I fought for more housing for the people of Hawaii as a volunteer advocate I would get weary with the inertia of Government, but I never stopped punching. I want to bring this same tenacity to the City Council representing the Windward community I grew up in.