Oprah Winfrey visits Maui Humane Society following wildfire

Entertainment

FILE – In this Nov. 29, 2018 file photo, Oprah Winfrey smiles during a tribute to Nelson Mandela and promoting gender equality event at University of Johannesburg in Soweto, South Africa. Winfrey surprised the Maui Humane Society with a visit to thank the organization for evacuating animals during a wildfire. The Maui News reported Saturday, July 13, 2019, that Winfrey is a part-time Maui resident who only visited briefly Saturday, thanking a volunteer and taking a photo outside with the organization’s sign. A Maui Humane Society official says Winfrey is a society supporter. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Oprah Winfrey surprised the Maui Humane Society with a visit to thank the organization for evacuating animals during a wildfire, a report said.

Winfrey is a part-time Maui resident who visited the society briefly Saturday, thanking a volunteer and taking a photo outside with the organization’s sign, The Maui News reported Saturday.

Winfrey is a society supporter, said Nancy Willis, the society’s director of development and community outreach.

“We are appreciative and grateful that she recognized the hard work of the community,” Willis said.

More than 200 animals were evacuated Thursday after a brush fire started in Maui’s southern area, coming close to the Human Society’s building in Puunene before moving farther south, officials said.

Winfrey posted the photo of herself at the shelter on social media and included a hashtag for the society, as well as the Maui police and fire departments.

“Everyone’s safe including all the animals,” Winfrey wrote. “Thank you for your service.”

Winfrey also gave permission Thursday for emergency officials to use a private road on her property if it was needed to evacuate residents and visitors.

Maui resident Jack Moussally sent a message on Twitter to Winfrey asking her to “consider opening the ranch road so we can get upcountry.”

“Hi there Jack. Access to the road was given to county officials immediately,” Winfrey responded. “This was many hours ago. Hoping for the safety of all.”

Winfrey’s road ultimately was not used, Maui County spokesman Chris Sugidono said.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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