Club surprises Kona Crush coach with needed van

LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today Kona Crush Soccer Club coach Brandon Williams, center, is surrounded by players, parents and coaches as he receives a van Friday morning from Big Island Toyota.

KAILUA-KONA — Brandon Williams stood, shocked, in the parking lot of Big Island Toyota as Kona Crush Soccer Club players chanted his name next to a minivan adorned with a gold bow.

Kona Crush players, parents and coaches met at the dealership Friday morning to surprise Williams with the gift of the vehicle. While donated to the nonprofit club, the van was given to Williams for his use as a coach.

“There’s no one who has a more pure purpose,” said director of coaching Vinny LaPorta of Williams. “This van is going to help feed the Keiki Crush program.”

Williams, who drives a Prius, has been hauling soccer gear for the Keiki Crush program, which serves ages 3-8. A few months ago, parent Rebekah Lussiaa said she noticed the coach at practice one day with all the gear stuffed in the small car with his three kids inside.

Lussiaa thought she needed to do something. So, she wrote a letter to Toyota about donating a vehicle to the club for the coach’s use.

“As a parent, my daughter has been blessed by Brandon and I feel he deserves to be rewarded,” Lussiaa said.

To her surprise, the dealership agreed.

Williams was in awe. He spoke to the small gathering Friday and expressed his love for the program.

“I’ve been speaking to Vinny recently about the vision for the program and how we should look after little kids in the community through soccer,” Williams said.

While he wants to teach the young children soccer, Williams said he also wants to make little characters as well.

“I’m so glad this happened. I needed to be re-energized,” Williams said.

The coach said it’s not so much about receiving the van, but the gesture itself.

“This is amazing,” he said. “I can’t comprehend this.”

Tor Koyanagi, sales manager at Big Island Toyota, said this is the first time the dealership has ever given away a vehicle.

While it does monetary donations in the community, Koyanagi said, car giveaways are out of the norm.

“But we felt this was a very deserving community program and very deserving person,” he said.

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