My Dad, Larry Helm, Needs Your Prayers, Good Thoughts and Mana-ful Energy

Larry Helm and his daughter, Nichol Helm Kahale
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My dad, Larry Helm, walks me down the isle on my wedding day 17 years ago

BY NICHOL HELM KAHALE – My dad, Larry Helm, is a tough cookie. And I’ll tell you why.

The eldest of 7 children and from humble beginnings he was taught to work hard, to service others, to show love and compassion for all human beings and to help those who were dealt a bad hand. He has and continues to stand up for the little guy.


He’s had his fair share of standing up for himself. Although poverty stricken, he desired a college education and in the early 60’s he made do with that goal and attended Chaminade University of Honolulu. Two years in, he took a break to work and earn money for tuition. During this time he was drafted in the war. The Vietnam War. Those that could afford college – the elite few – avoided the Draft. But those dealt a bad hand like my dad were Chosen. Surviving heavy combat in the Vietnam War was the first test of his survival skills.

In the 70’s he lost his younger brother George Jarrett Helm Jr. (Musician, Political Leader/Activist). He worked tirelessly with FBI investigators, politicians and the police force researching his murder or ‘disappearance.’ He didn’t fear speaking up. A lesson he always taught to his children. He had already faced the end of the barrel in Vietnam and the Mafia, Organized crime, Military and Political Pundits couldn’t intimidate him.

In his early 40’s he had yet to encounter another test of faith. The Big “C” word. Cancer. After radiation, surgery and a long road to healing – he beat it. However, financially, it was tough on the family. He lived and worked on Oahu and sought cancer treatment primarily on his own. While mom was taking care of a young family on Molokai, dad would have to walk to catch the bus to get treatment at the hospital. At times, weak and weary, but strong and faithful. He beat it.

In a 12 year span, he underwent two open heart surgeries to replace a heart valve. He also survived the political machine attacks while running for office in the ‘first ever seat’ for the House of Representative (Molokai, Lanai & West Maui). While remaining true to himself and never selling out.

Larry Helm

Years later he would fight the system and bureaucrats just to obtain a permit to operate a small Molokai Wagon Ride in Mapulehu. 11 public hearings and financial burdens later he cheated death once again. He suffered a bleeding ulcer and was air medivaced to Oahu with very little blood left in his body. The doctors said if he had waited one more day he would have died.

Nothing could prepare him for what would come next. The hardest test of his faith came in 1989 when his daughter (my younger sister Natalie) died in an airplane crash at age 15. This was probably the most difficult thing any parent could endure. My dad and mom were tough, but this one – well this one – you’d think would do anyone in. He was the leader for most of the families. Helping them deal with lawyers and made sure the airline industry was held accountable. He was a fighter and was not going to let his daughter and all those who perished on Flight #1712 die in vain.

His true calling came in the mid 90’s to help with care and providing services to the many Molokai Veterans. He is the commander for the Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans organization and has led it to what it is today. He also worked endlessly and unselfishly towards building the first Veterans Center on Molokai. He took on the arduous task of dealing with the County and the red tape that goes along with it. We hope he will SOON see his work come to fruition.

Today, he faces another hurdle. Terminal liver cancer. Although the doctor says it ‘doesn’t look good’ – we all know after reading this post my dad has had 9 lives and he won’t go down without a fight.

My family and I ask for your prayers, your love, your positive and mana-ful energy.

This letter was approved and endorsed by my father and mother. My dad is a public person, people person, media and community contributor and has many friends.  Thank you.





  1. A true Warrior utilizing the cultural and spiritual values as the foundation to spring forth to rise to personal and professional challenges. Raised by his Mama, a beauty filled Hawaiian female of the Hana ahupua`a, her leo nahenahe inculcating important lessons, delicately inspiring a leader, such is the kuleana of first borns. His father, known as the Watermelon King of Kalama`ula knew the secrets of the seeds, nurtured the `aina ho`opulapula to provide for his family, the community and the island of Moloka`i. Born of parents that both shared their best talents so he could advocate the rights of the first peoples of Hawai`i, that never excluded others but to only to educate so all could live peacefully in HAwai`i. His siblings enveloped by special gifts of song, critical thinkers, astute analyzers all embracing the spirit of aloha supported their eldest Brother, the Moloka`i community and the State of Hawai`i are to be admired. So this blessed child, steeped in a richness of the spiritual values, was his parents gift to us so we may all learn lessons of aloha and lokahi. Melted is the physical body but the gifts of voice, genuine interactions with his fellow people and promoting the best interests of the veterans and others who suffered injustice are the good works crystallized in memory. He has set a path for others who shared his beliefs, carry on the light! Blessings upon all his siblings, his children and the next generation to come forth. Mahalo for sharing him with us!

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