SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Heartbreaking stories continue unfolding out of Maui as search and rescue crews continue to look for the missing. A tough journey, a familiar face to the island is calling: Maui Strong.
Olympic gold medalist and two-time figure skating World Champion Kristi Yamaguchi spoke to ABC7's Stephanie Sierra about her ties to the island and how her foundation Always Dream is committed to help rebuild.
The Olympian is even offering up her own Maui home to help those displaced.
"The spirit of Aloha is going strong there," Yamaguchi said. "It's heartbreaking but there is so much resilience in the community."
Stephanie Sierra: "What are you hearing from your neighbors who are there?"
Kristi Yamaguchi: "Well, we're hearing that it is really still hard to communicate. There's still no power, water, internet service, so it's been really slow with communication -- some asked to only make text messages because they're trying to share the bandwidth."
Yamaguchi married former professional hockey player and two-time Olympian Bret Hedican on the Big Island in 2000. The two share a condo together in North Kaanapali.
Sierra: "Is it safe? Have you been able to be there on the ground?"
Yamaguchi: "We haven't been there yet, but it is safe. But, you know, there is no travel or advised no travel into West Maui. Everything's been evacuated. There are displaced employees who are staying in some of the units and we've offered ours up as well. So it'll be several weeks before I think things will be slowly getting back."
Sierra: "What was going through your mind when you first got word of the wildfires?"
Yamaguchi: "Really disbelief. When we first started seeing the enormity of what was happening on Maui and just feeling so much heartache for that community and trying to do whatever in our power here to make them feel supported."
Yamaguchi is the founder of Always Dream, a foundation that's dedicated to supporting underserved students across Hawaii. The foundation has committed to support the rebuild on Maui by supplying books to local libraries and schools.
Sierra: "Can you walk us through your mission?"
Yamaguchi: "Absolutely. Always Dream provides access to high quality books for families in low income communities. We have our program in schools throughout the Bay Area as well as several schools in Hawaii. None of our schools are directly impacted by the fire, but we do have all three schools on Molokai, which are Maui County."
Yamaguchi echoed an important message -- that the Maui community is incredibly resilient, strong and the people have found unique ways to band together.
"To the people of Maui. We're here for you. We're thinking of you. We will be there to help rebuild. Hopefully you can feel our Aloha spirit," she said.
Click here for more information on #MauiStrong t-shirts.
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