HONOLULU - The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association will continue for at least a while longer.
The group’s president, Art Herriford, said Monday that about 100 members voted against disbanding, deciding instead to keep the 52-year-old organization alive.
Herriford, 88, said old age makes it difficult for members to organize their biennial meetings and handle other duties, but they “don’t want to throw in the towel right away.” “Some of these old duffers, if you tried to do away with this organization, you’d have them all to fight,” Herriford said after the group met in Waikiki a day before the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. A vote count was not provided.
Instead, the association planned to shrink a little, so it will have four district directors around the country instead of eight. The move would help it cope with falling revenues as membership declines.
The group had about 18,000 members when it formed in 1958. It now has about 3,000.
But Herriford said age, not funds, was the main reason the association considered folding.
“I just can’t cut the mustard anymore, you might say. And that’s the position of nearly all our people,” Herriford said.
Herriford said he, his 89-year-old wife Shirley and their son worked for more than a year to organize their 2010 convention with other association officers.
His wife personally reviewed registrations for 800 survivors, family members and friends four or five times.
“It’s been a real hassle. This is what I tried to impress on people. It’s a big hassle to put on one of these,” he said.
The group’s next convention will be held in Fredericksburg, Texas, where the Admiral Nimitz Museum is located.
Adm. Chester Nimitz commanded the U.S. Pacific Fleet after the Pearl Harbor attack and through the end of World War II.
Service members who were on Oahu between 7:55 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, are eligible to join the association. There were about 84,000 on the island at the time.