Maui Jim employees receive Hawaiian blessing

By WEEK Producer

August 6, 2013 Updated Aug 6, 2013 at 10:13 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- Many companies throw picnics or give bonuses to employees to show appreciation -- But that doesn't quite fit the culture at Maui Jim.

Instead, the company Tuesday hosted a blessing ceremony for its 300 Peoria employees. The traditional Hawaiian event was led by Kahu David Kapaku, a religious leader whose ancestors trace their origins on Maui back more than 900 years.

Kapaku says without Spirituality,we do not exist as a people, and it's very important for management to recognize their employees.

"Part of the blessing, for me, is to bless the employees. They are the heart and soul of all the operation. They are the front line," says Kopaku.

Maui Jim Owner Walter Hester agrees.

"It's about all the people. And it's really about taking care of all the employees and really blessing them because that's enlightenment."

Hester adds he met Kapuka over a decade ago at church -- and both have been active in supporting Peoria's South Side Mission.