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August 29, 2006

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14 - CAPE GAZETTE - Tuesday, August 29 - Thursday, August 31, 2006 CAPE LIFE PT 728 keeps history and dreams alive By Georgia Leonhart Special to the Cape Gazette Memories were brought alive, dreams restored and imagination made reality for more than 1,000 people who visited or took a cruise on PT 728 during her 10- day visit to Lewes from Aug. 11- 20. Restored to her original glory by owner Rob Iannucci of New York, the 72-foot vessel is outfit-- ted as she would have been during service as a World War II patrol torpedo boat. PT 728 is the only PT boat remaining out of 813 that is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry passengers. Capt. Robinson of PT 221 The fact that she is so rare helps explain why people like Bill Robinson, his wife and family traveled from New Jersey to visit PT 728 on Thursday, Aug. 17. Robinson, who was a captain of PT 221 during the war, humorous- ly recounts being in training school with President John F. Kennedy. "When I met Jack Kennedy he was just a nice skinny guy," Robinson said with a smile. But the smile often faded after Robinson stepped on board and recounted the men he served with and the missions they carried out. "You've got me talking and think- ing about things I haven't thought about for years and years," Robinson said. "We were a family on 221. She was sunk at Mindoro, raised up, refurbished and we used her again." He looked grave as he told of how 221 had been burned up at the end of the war. An honored guest, Robinson stood at the helm before PT 728 set out to the Delaware Bay. But once the boat's journey was underway, he refused George's offer to turn the helm over to him. "It's your turn now, Captain" was all he said. Savage honored Bob Savage got to the Lewes dock as soon as he heard there was a PT boat in town. He wanted to see what would have been his dream come true. In 2001 Bob Savage's nephew told him of a boat he had discov- ered while working at Timmons Marine in Dagsboro. Savage, a history buff, was amazed to dis- cover that the boat was PT 308. It had been abandoned 30 years ear- lier, had been pulled on the shore and left there. Savage immediately set to work and discovered that PT 308 had served in the Mediterranean. He formed a corporation, PT 308 Restoration Project, Inc., got non- profit charitable status, sought donations, raised money and worked for two years to get to the point where they could pump the mud out of the boat and restore her. "Then Timmons lost the marina and developers bought it," Savage said. "First they gave me one year to remove the boat, which was OK. I could do that. Then three days later they said six months. I wasn't sure I could do that and comply with DNREC regulations about the area that would contain the mud we pumped out. Right after that they gave me six weeks, and then just gave me three weeks to get my stuff out." "Marvin Stein bought the prop- erty and we were dealing with Taylor Construction and Fitzgerald's from Lincoln was doing the demolition," Savage said. The developer wanted to start building immediately, so they bulldozed her under, Savage said and paused. "Turned out they weren't allowed to build anyway. They still haven't built on that land." "All I wanted was the time to save her, I wanted to keep history alive," Savage said as he laid his hand on PT 728. Continued on page 16 Georgia Leonhart photos Captain Kelly George steps aside and retired Navy Captain Bill Robinson takes the helm of PT 728 as he recalls his World War H days when he was the skipper of PT 221. Robinson's PT boat was sunk at Mindora, an island in the Philippines. She was raised, repaired and used again and finally burned up with 161 other PT boas at the end of the war. PT 728 is the only surviving patrol torpedo boat currently certified by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry passengers. Saltwater Portrait Pat Farley, a thoroughly modern Millie in Rehoboth By Molly Alberfson Cape Gazette staff When I went to Pat Farley's house, I expected a nostalgic interview filled with memories from nearly half a century before I was born, tales of World War II, the day Farley met her husband, and how she got to Rehoboth Beach. But I left her condo on Bay Vista Road with firm instructions not to write a "corny" story, along with directions for using Photoshop, a list of cool new web- sites, and a description of the best scanners and printers on the mar- ket. This modem 83-year-old woman didn't want to dwell on the old days, although she did tell the story of the day World War II was over and the three-day party that ensued. She emphasized the importance of staying busy, volunteering in the community, and being inde- pendent. "There's hardly a day I don't do something," she said. Farley is active in the American Legion ladies auxiliary, as a char- ter member and state volunteer of Molly Albertson photo Pat Farley, 83, sits are her home desktop system, one that she selected for its speed in designing newsletters, surfing the internet and even scanning and printing flyers. the year. She also gives her time to the VFW and the Elks Lodge. Hobbies and social clubs are a luxury that Farley has enjoyed since retirement, when she moved to Rehoboth Beach full-time in 1997 from her home Wilmington. Before the beach and the break from work, Farley worked for years in Pennsylvania and Wilmington. She broke into the work force with her first job during World War II, but she quit when the war ended, she said, because women just didn't work back then. She started work again when most women wouldn't, as a wife and mother of four children in the 1950s. She became the sole provider for her family in 1967 when her husband became dis- abled after a severe heart attack. Farley embraced new technolo- gy even then, when computers were on the cusp of creation, a wave of the future. She did data processing and worked as an office manager for many compa- nies. "We used a 402 accounting machine and 80-column cards you fed into the machine," Farley said. She said the machine took up an entire room. "That stuff is in the Smithsonian now," she said. Through the years of working she continued training. "When IBM put in a new machine they would train all the employees," she said. Farley also went to school in the evenings to learn about business. When not in school she studied real estate at nights and on weekends and worked in that industry. But being a woman m the work force was different back then, she said. "No matter where I worked I was classified as clerical staff," she said. Farley said she wasn't just looked down upon because she didn't finish college. "The men got the pay and the women did the work," she said. There isn't a hint of resentment in that statement, but it did influence her politics. Farley has worked diligently in the Democratic Party, politicking for years. There is a photo of Farley, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, and former President Bill Clinton on her mantle, next to the picture of her six grandchildren and a family portrait at the beach. "I never gave speeches or got into debates. I just registered peo- ple to vote and got people out there to vote," she said. She also had the privilege to vote in the Electoral College in 1992. If she is asked why she picked Democrats, the answer is simple in her mind. "I grew up poor," she said, and for her, the Democrats still represent people like her fam- ily. Farley grew up in the Pennsylvania coal area. Her father worked for a colliery, where they processed coal. "He didn't get further than the fourth grade," she said. Her morn stayed at home with four children as a full-time morn. One of Farley's favorite web- sites, which she was sure to show me on her brand-new Dell flat screen, is a coal mine website. "You can have so much fun on this site," she said. "You can chat with people, get old recipes, meet up with people you haven't heard from in years," she said. I commented on her level of comfort with the internet and computer software, but she laughed. "It's easy," she said, "My grandkids bought me a com- puter when I turned 75, but I out- grew that years ago." Beyond surfing the web - Farley sighs and says the intemet is too slow today - there is the tell- Continued on page 15