Leilua L. Apelu

Leilua Logoitino ApeluLeilua Logoitino Apelu

1973, Business Education
Vice President, PCC

Logo Apelu, who holds the Samoan chiefly title Leilua for his extended family, was a new member of the Church when he enrolled at the Church College of Hawaii in 1970.

After one week of getting up at 4 a.m. to work at the pineapple cannery, he got a job as a dishwasher at the Polynesian Cultural Center. "In those days everything was washed by hand, and I was the only dishwasher," he recalls. But with his talent and commitment, Apelu soon became a snack bar supervisor — the position he held until he graduated.

Apelu returned to Samoa and taught at the Church College of Western Samoa for seven years. Returning to Oahu for graduate work at the University of Hawaii, he found himself working full-time for the Cultural Center again. After earning his master's degree and getting married, Apelu again went back to Samoa and served as Director of Education for Church schools.

Visiting Hawaii in 1991, Apelu encountered visa problems and decided to stay. Again, he started work at the Cultural Center, this time as manager of custodians and grounds, cleaning bathrooms and pulling weeds with his workers. He quickly rose to manager of guest services, director of all island activities, and Vice President of Operations, which includes all theatrical productions, the villages, guides, special events, physical facilities, and food — accounting for approximately 80% of all employees at the Center. Typically, he also has helped guide the BYU-Hawaii Alumni Association, serving as president from 1999 to 2002.

I came with the desire that I had to go back. I made a commitment that I would go back and serve my country and family.