We wanted to let this one simmer for awhile and I became inspired to write about the man, the myth, the legend. Mr Mike McKenna.
If you are from Kailua or anywhere in the Hawaiian Islands for that matter, you have seen this man and his famous dog Hana Girl on many commercials and maybe you got your first car from him.
What this man has done for the community and for others over the years goes pretty unmatched by most. His generosity and love for people in general but especially our youth was palpable. He was known for his vehicle give a ways at project grad. He knew these kids were going places and he wanted to help to make sure they had a nice car to get there in style.
Besides donating dozens of vehicles he also donated a tremendous amount of money to our local communities. Over 1 million dollars to be exact.
Many may or may not know that Mike was a Marine. Some people say the word “ex marine” but as the son of a 1st Sgt of Marines, I know better. Its just Marine. Once a marine… you know the rest!
He enlisted at the ripe young age of 16 years old during the era of the Korean War. Eventually he landed in California where started a newspaper which was sold to then buy his very first dealership.
This is where theres a little additional personal twist and connection here. When I was growing up in Kailua, of course, we all knew who Mike was. I ended up moving also to California where i started selling real estate in an office out of Whittier California. Mikes first operation was in Whittier and off the 605 to this day, there is still a McKenna dealership. It was always nice seeing it on my way to work, reminded me of home.
Moving on… Mikes entrepreneurial spirit didnt end there. He was responsible for the build of the Orange County Raceway along with a set of parents. Racing was in his blood and he took it to the Baja 500 with his partner Larry Vaughn.
His real breakout success was his 1986 purchase of the Ala Moana Porsche / Audi / VW dealership. After turning the entire operation around with more than $30M in revenue he sold it and opened his Kailua locations in 1988.
The rest as they say is history. Mike will always be missed for his spirit and willingness to give back and help others. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
Aloha A Hui Hou Mike!