Aiea Man Has Unsinkable Spirit Of Giving

Jessica Goolsby
Wednesday - December 16, 2009
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There are many ways in which the residents of Hawaii honor the fallen every Dec. 7. Some visit the USS Arizona Memorial, others say a silent prayer for the families of those who died, and most fly their flags at half-staff to signify the great loss that occurred some 68 years ago. One Aiea man took all that a step further this year by donating a model of the USS Arizona (BB-39) to the Aiea Library.

Roy Baker, a U.S. Army retiree and military model-making enthusiast, donated a model of the once great, now sunken battleship on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (Dec. 7) in a public presentation at 4 p.m. in the Reading Room of the library. He shared historical information and stories about the Pennsylvania-class battleship that served with distinction from 1916 until Dec. 7, 1941, when it was sunk by a surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that led to the loss of 1,177 crewmen.

When asked why he chose Aiea Library to host the model: “Well, I didn’t have any room in the house,” Baker said with a laugh.


“No, it was for the children’s education. It started off with Palisades Elementary a while back when I spoke to the principal there, and I mentioned that I made models. I asked if she’d like me to bring them by to the history classes, and when she saw them she was so impressed that I just decided to start donating them.”

The model replica is now showcased in a glass display case and can be viewed during regular library hours. Arlene Ching, library branch manager, said she is delighted to have the piece for patrons to view.

“Baker made this himself,” she said of the miniature, which measures 16 inches long, 4 inches wide and 7 inches tall and took three weeks to complete. “He’s a lifelong model-maker since age 12, and when he gave us the model he told me how many hours he worked on it, and it showed just how much time and care he puts into these things. He’s a really touching person and understands the importance of inter-generational understanding.”

“You know, we can tell these kids nowadays all of the history and whatnot from World War II, but what are they really getting?” Baker asked. “If we show these kids models of what we
are talking about, it gives them something to better understand that time period and appreciate it more.”

Aiea Library is located at 99-143 Moanalua Road. For more information, call 483-7333.

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