Crowdfunding campaign comes through for 101-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor

Crowdfunding is paying the way for 101-year-old Ira Schab to attend the 80th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 5:07 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Dec. 7, 1941, Ira “Ike” Schab was a musician in the U.S. Navy, assigned to the USS Dobbin.

That Sunday morning, he was getting dressed to meet his brother when Japan attacked Battleship Row.

“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,” he said.

During the bombings, Schab helped load his ship’s anti-aircraft guns.

“When I realized we were under attack I got busy doing what I was told, passing ammunition and getting that sort of stuff done,” he said.

Schab was 21 years old that day. He’s now 101.

Kimberlee Heinrichs said as her father has gotten older he’s opened up more about his Pearl Harbor experience.

“You know it was a significant thing,” she said. “He was pulling bodies out of the water because frankly everybody was pulling bodies out of the water.”

Schab is the last surviving member of Navy Band 13. He lives with his daughter in Aloha, Oregon. He wanted to come back for the 80th commemoration of the attack to represent his unit.

“Eighty years is a long, long time, and I’m still here,” he said.

But his health requires two caregivers, and his family couldn’t afford the airfare and lodging. So they turned to crowdfunding through a GoFundMe campaign and the donations poured in.

“What is most amazing to me is that people did respond,” Heinrichs said. “I don’t have words to really thank these people.”

Because of the generosity of total strangers, Schab will be one of about 40 Pearl Harbor survivors at the Dec. 7 ceremony at Kilo Pier.

“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.”

When he is in Hawaii, Schab will meet a member of another Navy band who also survived the attack. And he’ll return to his musical roots as a guest conductor of the Pacific Fleet Band.

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