An Oregon family has turned to crowdfunding to send their 101-year-old Navy veteran dad back to Pearl Harbor — where he heroically helped fend off Japan’s surprise attack 80 years ago.
Kimberlee Heinrichs’s GoFundMe page had raised nearly $9,000 of its $10,000 goal as of early Saturday.
Her father, Ira “Ike” Schab, was a U.S. Navy musician, assigned to the destroyer USS Dobbin, on the quiet Sunday morning of Dec. 7, 1941, according to Hawaii News Now. He had planned to meet his brother, when Japanese planes began to attack.
“It’s hard what to say the feeling that runs through your mind. You’re scared. You don’t know what’s going to happen next,” Schab told the outlet. “When I realized we were under attack I got busy doing what I was told, passing ammunition and getting that sort of stuff done.”
Schab was just 21 years old on that date which lives in infamy.
“Lacking organizations with bigger pockets, I can’t afford to get my Pop over there,” Heinrichs writes on the GoFundMe page. “This fundraiser will cover flights, hotel, car, food for Ike and two family caregivers to keep him safe and be honored at the Pearl Harbor Anniversary ceremonies.”
“You know it was a significant thing,” she told Hawaii News Now. “He was pulling bodies out of the water because frankly everybody was pulling bodies out of the water.” She said her dad has opened up more about his Pearl Harbor experiences as he’s aged.
Schab lives today, ironically, in Aloha, Oregon, just outside Portland. He is expected to be just one of 40 survivors in Pearl Harbor on Tuesday for the 80th anniversary ceremonies.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “It was very generous and unexpected and very kind, and I am forever grateful.”