Greg Cameron touched many lives during his 17-year career as a firefighter on the Big Island, and this weekend people will gather at the inaugural Firemen’s Fund Weekend to remember the fallen warrior and raise money for a worthy cause.
Cameron was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic colon cancer in 2008, and despite putting up a strong fight, inspiring those around him, he lost his 3 ½-year battle with the disease in May 2012.
After his death, the Greg Cameron Firemen’s Fund was formed with the mission of providing financial support to Hawaii County Fire Department employees and their families when faced with injury or prolonged illness.
“The Fire Department and tons of people in the community were so generous to fundraise for Greg so he could make many dozens of trips to the mainland for treatment,” said Bradley Cameron, Greg’s younger brother. “He was convinced he wouldn’t have lived as long as he did without that. In his final days he was struggling to find a way to give back, and we as a family thought the fund would be the best way to repay the gracious support the community and Fire Department gave us.”
Grant Kojima, Greg Cameron’s childhood friend and former co-worker, and now the executive director of the fund, reminisced about Cameron’s lasting impression on those around him.
“What we learned from Greg was courage,” Kojima said. “No matter what happened, he cared for the people around him.
He wanted to give back to the firefighters who supported him throughout his career and fight with cancer.”
Today at noon, a four-man scramble format golf tournament takes place at the Hapuna Golf Course, offering multiple prizes and a Mazda CX-5 for anyone fortunate enough to shoot a hole-in-one.
Sunday, at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, a biathlon will be held, featuring a 400-meter swim and 1-mile run.
Bradley Cameron reflected on having the event at Hapuna Beach, in the waters where family and friends said their final goodbyes to Greg Cameron during his memorial last year.
“His memorial created a place that will always be meaningful for our whole family — it’s those rocks right in the middle of Hapuna,” Bradley Cameron said. “As kids we all hated those rocks because they got in the way of bodysurfing and everybody that grew up on the island knows them. Now, those rocks are a landmark for us. To have the biathlon at Hapuna and being able to go back there is really special for us.”
Kojima echoed those feelings about Greg Cameron.
“He was a competitive guy, but in the end also very giving and supportive of his fellow firefighters,” Kojima said. “He was an athlete and loved going to Hapuna to run and swim. We thought holding the biathlon there would be something appropriate to do in his memory.”
Greg Cameron was a three-time finisher of the Ironman Championship, a life-long surfer and an endurance athlete.
“We want people to come out and learn more about Greg and the fund, support the Hawaii County Fire Department, and have a good time at the events,” Kojima said. “Hopefully this will be an event people look forward to every year.”
The biathlon costs $30 to register and includes a commemorative hat or visor, refreshments and prizes. Participants can register for the event starting at 7:30 a.m. at Hapuna’s south pavilion.
For more information on Greg Cameron, the weekend’s events, or to donate to the fund, visit tgcff.com.