Battleship Missouri Memorial's 85-year-old volunteer

Published: Apr. 25, 2013 at 10:40 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 26, 2013 at 12:42 AM HST
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Bob Albin in his shop
Bob Albin in his shop
Kevin Williamson
Kevin Williamson

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By Jade Storms

Bob Albin may be the oldest volunteer at the Battleship Missouri Memorial but he is also the hardest working.

At 85 years old, Bob has become known as "Bob the builder" and has been working on the ship since it was towed into Pearl Harbor back in 1998. After sitting at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington for so long, the USS Missouri was in dire need of refurbishment.

"The ship had just arrived and we saw her come into the harbor," Albin said. "She was in a sad state, there was a lot of rust, paint was peeling, and she just cried out to me."

For the first several months, Albin immediately went to work on the teak deck and even brought his own tools to do the repair work. Because of his hard work and those of other volunteers and staff members, the Battleship Missouri Memorial was able to open for tours on January 29, 1999, only seven months after first arriving in Honolulu.

Since then, Albin has become one of the most valuable volunteers at the USS Missouri Memorial and his work is displayed all throughout the ship, including the wooden stairs, pier ticket booth, shelving in the Victory store, flag stands, picture frames, and of course, the 1.4 acres of teak deck that expands across the entire ship.

Keven Williamson is the Battleship Missouri Volunteer Director and explained that in all the years Bob has been volunteering, he has never turned down a project.

"You can ask Bob to do anything, and he has never said 'no, I can't do that,' Williamson said. "He will jump right into any project even if he has other things going on but he always gets it done. A lot of our volunteers are like that, but Bob always has an excellent attitude."

Albin currently works at the Battleship Missouri Memorial two to three days a week and even has his own workshop called the Teak Shop.

After almost two decades of hard work and completing hundreds of projects, Albin says he's not ready to stop working anytime soon.

"I haven't really thought about how much longer I'll be doing this, because the good Lord gives me a new day every day," Albin said. "I can still work with my hands so as long as I can do that I'm going to work. Maybe in another ten years I'll see how I feel."

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