WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — In the 1950’s the USS North Carolina was set to be scrapped, but folks across the state were not going to let the ship go down without a fight. People saved pennies, nickles and dimes to keep the historic ship afloat and now one man who remembers saving his change as a kid is getting a chance to make some important improvements to the boat.
For Randy Ramsey working on air conditioning here on the USS North Carolina brings him back to his childhood. When Ramsey was in elementary school he was one of thousands of kids across the state who saved their change to save the ship.
“We had these little milk boxes that the schools would give you and you would put your change, your quarters and nickles and pennies. It was really a penny fundraiser,” Ramsey said.
He calls the battleship a special boat, saying when you walk aboard you think about what the servicemen went through in WWII.
“After it came to Wilmington, I came to see it when I was young and then I guess it’s been 30 years before I came back,” Ramesy said.
But now, Ramsey is helping take care of the boat again. His company installed air conditioning in the wardroom and some office space aboard the vessel.
“It had no air conditioning on it, it only had ventilation. And they had heat. So you can imagine these guys in the South Pacific with no air conditioning whatsoever, other than the ventilation system on the boat. We’re fortunate enough to come in here and enjoy it with a little bit of air,” Ramesy said.
He said it is incredible to see how far the ship has come from his days collecting coins. Ramsey said every penny saved was was well worth it to help preserve this historic landmark.