Athletics helped shape Goose’s Edge President Al Gustavson into a leader.
Growing up, Gustavson said he was a “jock” who participated in various sports, including football, baseball and swimming. So much so that this California State University, Chico football team captain even married a cheerleader.
Sports gave him, as well as his Big Island family, many life lessons in winning, losing, dedication, discipline, sacrifice, competitiveness, confidence, teamwork and loyalty. Over the years, Gustavson found no single endeavor has given him more real world training than his athletic pursuits, which is why he’s so passionate about helping people of all ages experience athletics.
His company, which owns four gas stations on four separate Hawaiian islands, including the Queen Kaahumanu Tesoro in North Kona, has made donations of $10,000 each to Kealakehe High School’s athletic department and Kai Opua Canoe Club over the last two years. Both groups will again receive the gifts next month and get to choose how best to use the money.
Kealakehe High was chosen primarily because of its proximity to the Queen Kaahumanu Tesoro. Gustavson also knows too well the financial burden placed upon the schools, athletes and parents, who must constantly raise money. His two children played sports, and as a sports group supporter, Gustavson joked he’s probably had way too many spam musubis to count. He hopes the latest donation lessens that burden.
Another goal Gustavson hopes the recipients at Kealakehe High take away “an appreciation of the ways in which athletics can foster community and school spirit and lead to stronger ties and service to the island.” He would also love it if his donation inspired more people to experience athletics at least once in their life or to just go outside and play catch as a family, as well as motivate other gas station owners to give back to the communities they serve.
Gustavson also admitted his own selfish reasons for the donations: “It’s a chance to promote our business, and hopefully, because everyone needs gas, bring in more customers.”
Mike Hernandez, Kealakehe High athletic director, could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Kai Opua was chosen because his company admires how well the club organizes and hosts the Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races every September. Besides enjoying the competition, Gustavson said he believes in helping perpetuate Hawaii’s vibrant canoe culture and likes that it’s a sport for all ages.
Besides donating $10,000 last year to Kai Opua, Goose’s Edge also bought a Bradley six-man canoe and Tesoro Corp. in San Antonio contributed an additional $2,500, Gustavson said. Tesoro Corp. is planning to give $5,000 to the club this year, he added.
Kai Opua President Bo Campos described the relationship between the club and Goose’s Edge as “a great marriage, one that helps promote Tesoro, the community, the race, the sport and Hawaii’s ocean heritage.” Campos said sponsors like Goose’s Edge “are loved to death” because they help pay for the 18-mile open ocean race, which annually draws more than 2,500 competitors from around the world. He estimates the total expense to be more than $100,000.