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Henry "Jay" Hukilani Kea was born on the Waianae Coast of Oahu into a Japanese and Hawaiian family. Before the age of 10 he experienced various types of abuse and homelessness. By the age of 15 he had been removed from his family and lived in multiple group homes and foster homes.

In the midst of his woundedness, Jay retained a love for people and a heart to serve others. He believed in God and loved Jesus but the pain of his early years left scars that continued to haunt him, in spite of his faith.