A True Servant Leader


Photo: Brendon Kalei'aina Lee

As of Nov. 1, Trustee Robert Lindsey Jr. of Waimea Hawaiʻi will have two more days left in his illustrious tenure as Hawaiʻi Island Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee. While we all look forward to working with the newly elected Trustee for Hawaiʻi Island and hearing what new ideas they may have, it is never easy to see someone so dedicated to not just his responsibilities as a Trustee, but his commitment to his community, leave.

Trustee Lindsey, or “Uncle Bob” as we all call him – even at the board room table, was appointed to the Hawaiʻi Island seat after Trustee Linda Dela Cruz passed away in 2007. For the last 13 years he has diligently served the Native Hawaiians of Hawaiʻi Island and the lāhui. He was a former ranger with the Parks Service, served his community at the State Legislature for one term, then became the land assets manager for Hawaiʻi Island for Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate; so it is easy to understand the reason that the 2007 Board of Trustees selected Uncle Bob.

Photo: Trustee Robert Lindsey Jr.
Trustee Robert Lindsey Jr. – Photo: Honolulu Star Advertiser Dennis Oda, 2014

Throughout the years, Uncle Bob has served on Habitat for Humanity West Hawaiʻi, the West Hawaiʻi Mediation Center, and the Kanu o Ka ʻĀina Center ʻOhana. Never shying away from a challenge, Uncle Bob has served as chairperson for the Board of Trustees, as well as for the Beneficiary, Advocacy, and Empowerment (BAE) and the Resource Management (RM) Committees.

Uncle Bob’s patience is well known throughout the pae ʻāina. He will sit and listen, ever mindful that he is not living in that beneficiary’s shoes. He always pictures himself or his ʻohana in the place of the storyteller and, with an empathetic heart, then removes himself from the picture and looks at the issue from the outside to gain better perspective. I have learned how to use all the resources at my disposal from Uncle Bob and watched how he trusts his team and lets them grow as individuals, both professionally and personally.

I will miss having Uncle Bob’s wisdom, patience, perspective and knowledge on the Permitted Interaction Groups that we have worked on together over the last two years. We accomplished so much over the last two years and still have so much more to do. Uncle Bob helped us carry the ball into the red zone, and we know he is leaving the field and will watch us carry the ball into the end zone. I am comforted with the knowledge that we can now call on him as a resource and not worry about our favorite sunshine law telling us we cannot.

Enjoy your retirement Uncle Bob! You will be missed at the Board of Trustees table, in the office, and most especially at our kūkākūkā sessions in your office. A hui hou. See you in the cool air up there in Waimea, as soon as we can all get on a plane again.