Blue Star Card spouses, families enjoy luau, entertainment at Hale Koa

| September 30, 2010 | 2 Comments

Story and Photos by 
Tara Scully
Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation

Sophia Smelser practices her Tahitian dancing at the Hale Koa luau. Sophia and her mom, Christina, attended the Hale Koa luau through the Blue Star Card program for spouses of deployed Soldiers.SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — More than 240 Blue Star Card members, children and family members celebrated the Big “R” at the Hale Koa Hotel, Waikiki, Sept. 23. 

The Big R, the countdown to redeployment, is a Blue Star Card program that encourages spouses and families to stay active and to meet new friends, each month. 

The group was treated to a discounted night of entertainment and fun, complete with kalua pig pulled from the “imu” pit, hula, Tahitian dancing and fire-knife dancers.

Veronica Joseph, whose husband deployed in June 2010 with the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, said this event was her first Big R outing. 

“I love that this Big R event allowed me to do a family event that the adults could enjoy, too!” Joseph said, adding that the free entry for children was also a huge incentive.  

Christina Smelser, whose husband is with 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, uses Blue Star Card benefits all the time. Smelser said that deployments are not easy, and the Blue Star Card has really helped to keep her family active and involved, especially as her husband is on his fourth deployment.

“The Big R events are awesome,” Smelser said. “(The program) has given me the opportunity to be social with other adults and not have to worry about my kids not enjoying themselves.”

“My favorite part (of the luau) was watching the fire-knife dancer do his routine,” said Alyssa, Smelser’s 8-year-old daughter. “It was really cool to watch him because I am almost his age. I also liked going on stage and getting to do the hula with the hula dancers.” 

Throughout the night, families could take pictures with Big R posters that will be sent to their deployed Soldiers.  

The next Big R event will be a mystery dinner, Oct. 26, at the Mililani Town Center.  

To learn more about the Blue Star Card program for spouses and family members of deployed Soldiers, visit, e-mail or call 655-0002.

Category: Community

Comments (2)

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  1. koreen says:

    The event was not free–it was discounted at $30 but kids 18 and under were indeed free : )

  2. Hawaii Army Weekly says:

    Thank you for the information. After some research, we verified the information and corrected the copy.

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