Trending Content

For Hawaii’s Service Rentals & Supplies, it’s all about taking care of each other

By Connie Lannan

August 20, 2023

Ryan (left) and Rysan Ouye

Ryan (left) and Rysan Ouye

In the middle of the night Tuesday, Aug. 8, Rysan Ouye, sales representative, and his father, Ryan, owner and president, Service Rentals & Supplies, with six locations in Hawaii, were awakened by a phone call informing them that devastating wildfires might have impacted their operation in Lahaina — the coastal tourist town in Maui that was destroyed by the fast-moving inferno, which has taken at least 111 lives as of press time.

“My father and I were in California attending an Alert Users Group Conference. My mother called us at midnight California time. She said that from what she was hearing the buildings across from our operation in Lahaina burned down. We were up in a panic, trying to get access to any cameras to see, but we couldn’t see anything,” Rysan says.

“For a while we had no idea if our building was still standing. Luckily, our banker was in the area and he drove past our place. Our building and the one next to it looked good, and then he saw the metal building next to that was warped. It got hit by the flames. That is how blessed we are. We were two buildings over from being impacted,” he adds.

Luckily, all their employees were safe. Their other Maui rental operation in Kahului, which is the company’s headquarters but on the other side of a mountain range, was fine, too.

“The fire up country in Kula, which is about 40 to 50 minutes from Kahului, did impact one of our employees’ families. Our employee’s mother lived in Kula. They lost power early in the day and the flames were getting close. I believe her home was fine. My employee, her mother, cousins and some of her siblings had to come down to Kahului and are living with her now,” Rysan says.

Photos this page courtesy of Service Rentals & Supplies

Wildfires are not uncommon in Hawaii, Rysan adds. “Ever since I was a kid, wildfires always burned, but they usually burned away from residential areas. At some point we were kind of used to it. Those who work and commute to Lahaina always carry a grab bag to go. No one expected this one to be this bad, but there were three fires. The fires in Lahaina were impacted by hurricane-level winds that got up to 80 mph. That really fueled the fire to an unprecedented level.”

The manager at the company’s Lahaina operation noticed an issue when he left at 4 p.m. that Tuesday. “He said that when he left, traffic was already bad because the road was closed due to a downed power line. He said the main road was really congested, so he took the back roads before they shut everything down. Then he got news that the fires had spread to the town and the residential areas,” Rysan says.

For Service Rentals & Supplies, the company’s Lahaina operation is a satellite branch. “We have two full-time employees there. They all commute to the location. We have six locations in Hawaii, a branch on every island, with two in Maui — in Lahaina on the coast and Kahului, which is in the valley between the two mountain ranges. My grandfather started our business in Kahului and we have expanded the business from there,” Rysan says.

For now, because the Lahaina area is considered a disaster zone, that satellite branch is closed, but the company is still supplying equipment for the relief effort to both organizations and residents of the impacted areas in Lahaina and Kula.

“We are providing essential services to the Maui Police Department, the mayor’s office and the army and other organizations such as the American Red Cross. For those efforts, we have been supplying a lot of generators, port-a-potties and light towers. Most of the organizations using our generators are the American Red Cross, the Army and the Department of Water that is using them to pump water to the area. Because there is not any electricity, there are no lights at night for the cleanup crews. The crews there have been using our towers so when they are doing the excavations they have visibility,” he says, noting that the company is offering this equipment at a 50 percent discount, “which will be good until they don’t need them anymore. At the rate we are going, it will be years before recovery efforts are completed.”

The company also has been supplying forklifts to the Red Cross as a way to help unload and load supplies onto trucks that take the materials to the impacted areas.

In addition, the company has donated 15 light towers to an organization run by a community leader. “He has been using them to make sure the people in his community are safe. We appreciate his work out there and his efforts and want to support him,” Rysan adds.

For residents in the affected areas, the company is offering small generators — from 2.2 kWh up to 6 or 9.7 kWh.

“We are waiving all costs for 90 days. We only require a driver’s license to show they are from an impacted area. We have donated 12 so far. We are trying to get more. We ran out within the first week. As soon as the fire happened, we put all our smaller generators from our other locations on pallets and barged them to Maui. We are still waiting to get them here as there is a lot of barge traffic with all the relief efforts and supplies. When we get them, I see those numbers easily tripling,” Rysan says.

Helping their community is part of the company’s DNA, he says. It all centers around the concept of Ohana, which means family in Hawaiian.

“We are a small rental company. We don’t succeed without our community. We think of our community as family as well. We are nothing without our community. Our community needs us. We need to help our community as much as we can,” Rysan says.

He says it is fortunate his company has the supplies — from generators and material handling equipment all the way up to port-a-potties — that are needed most now. “We have been in business for 51 years. Our community has supported us through all of this. Being we are a niche business, we have the supplies, and we are here to support our community,” he adds.

It is the same for the company’s employees. “Luckily, we didn’t have any of our employees who have been majorly impacted by this, but all of us know people who have been impacted. We will do whatever we can to help our employees and others in our community,” he says.

Knowing what everyone on Maui is going through makes Rysan particularly grateful that the ARA Foundation is offering Disaster Relief Grants to rental businesses and their employees who are severely impacted by this wildfire and other natural disasters.

“It means the world to have this program available. Any relief can make all the difference,” he says.

ARA Foundation’s Disaster Relief Grants are here to assist those impacted by natural disasters 

ARA FoundationThe communities of Lahaina and Kula in Maui, Hawaii, have been devastated by wildfires that erupted Aug. 8. The wildfires have burned structures and homes, forced thousands to evacuate and, as of press time, have taken at least 111 lives in Lahaina alone. In addition, Hurricane Hilary is on a path that could bring significant flooding to the southwestern U.S., including California.

Through its Disaster Relief Grants, the ARA Foundation is here to assist both rental stores and employees severely impacted by these natural disasters.

Two types of grants are available:

For more information on these services or to donate to the ARA Foundation, click here.

For questions, contact Jill Peterson, program manager for the ARA Foundation and Government Affairs, at, or 800-334-2177, ext. 254.