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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hall gets 'pick up' from sponsor

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Enterprise Rent-a-Car has sent a heartwarming message to the Hawai'i High School Athletic Association Foundation Hall of Honor Class of 2010:

"We'll pick you up."

Enterprise Holdings —which includes Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Alamo Rent a Car and National Car Rental, — has stepped forward with a $24,000 donation to fund $2,000 college scholarships for each of the 12 senior student-athletes who will enter the Hall of Honor in a June 6 banquet at the Sheraton Waikīkī.

The 12 will be chosen this afternoon at the conclusion of two days of meetings by a 15-member selection committee.

The Hall of Honor program, which was started in 1982 and formerly known as the Nissan Hall of Honor, was without a sponsor for last year's 12 scholarships until PGA golfer and 1999 Hall inductee Parker McLachlin stepped forward with a $24,000 donation just days before the banquet.

Inspired by McLachlin's generosity, Enterprise vice president of rental operations Chris Sbarbaro called then-HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya about possible involvement with the 2010 program.

"We thought this would be a great way to give back to the community," Sbarbaro said. "Everybody here talks about high school sports, and this is a way we can tell everybody that we care about high school sports, too."

Sbarbaro said Enterprise, Alamo and National already have assisted high school teams with discounted car and van rentals in recent state tournaments.

The Hall of Honor selections are based mainly on athletic achievement, but also take into consideration character, academic standing and community/school service.

The HHSAA Foundation took over the program in 2004 after Nissan Hawai'i was dissolved. From 2006 to 2008, The Honolulu Advertiser was a title sponsor.

But with economic conditions worsening, Amemiya was resigned to concede the scholarship awards for 2009 and move forward with the enshrinement dinner, until McLachlin stepped forward in the nick of time.

Sbarbaro said he read about McLachlin's donation in The Advertiser and was put in touch with Amemiya.

"I'm a sports nut myself," said Sbarbaro, who graduated from national football power De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) High School. "I asked Keith, 'How can we help?' "

Read his blog on high school sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com