Heartfelt generosity

Honda Kunimistu was having a tough year. The logging job that he had wasn’t going very well and he was struggling to make ends meet for his family.

Faye Street, a former employer, described Honda as being a hard worker who learned how to be a faller, buckerman and teamster while working for her and her husband Steve at Majestic Valley Ranch near Cranbrook, BC. One of the toughest things he learned was how to make the logging horse lean hard into the collar in order to pull the heavy logs.

“Honda’s soft heart always felt sorry for the horses,” shared Faye. “He wanted to buck the logs shorters in order to make the load lighter.”

He decided to go out on his own with a work colleague and attempted to eek out a living working for themselves. They were thinking strategically, and even though the first few years would be tight, they knew that in the long run they would be in a better position if they worked hard and stuck to their plan.

By December of 2016, Honda felt that a positive wind was blowing him in a better direction. He was optimistic and was finally in a position to pay a little forward.

The catastrophic fire that happened in Fort McMurray had been on Honda’s heart since he saw the news coverage back in May. Even though he was just starting to get back on his feet, he wanted to help now that he was in a position to do so.

Honda’s story probably sounds similar to that of Canadians from coast to coast who gave money to help the people of Fort McMurray get back on their feet. It is similar but different. You see, Honda is not Canadian.

Honda Meg Koa and Michelle Kunimistu

Honda, his wife Meg, and children, Koa and MIchelle, live in Gifu, Japan. He is an independent logger, pulling in long hard hours working in the forests of the Far East. He sent 5000 Yen to his former employers Faye and Steve in Canada and asked them to donate it to the people of Fort McMurray. They decided to donate it to the United Way.


It is not the size of donation that stands out – 5000 Yen is just over $60 CAN – but the size of Honda’s heart, and the humanity and care he showed to our community from halfway around the world. We are beyond grateful.



Author: Russell Thomas

​Russell is a marketing and communications professional who has spent 20 years in Wood Buffalo working with the OK Radio Group, Keyano College, Arts Council Wood Buffalo, and now with The United Way of Fort McMurray. A regular blogger, Russell's writing can be seen online (www.middleagebulge.com) and in multiple publications. His paintings can be seen in homes and businesses throughout the community. Married to Heather and "Papa" to Dylan and Ben, Russell is a passionate spokesperson for United Way.