MACHIAS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — What a difference a day makes.
Robert Coles was about $10,000 shy Monday of his fundraising goal to return to Pearl Harbor for the 75th Anniversary in December, but by Tuesday morning, the 92-year-old World War II veteran who survived the Pearl Harbor attack was planning his trip.
"I'm proud to be an American," he told NEWS CENTER over the phone.
NEWS CENTER first interviewed Coles on Monday afternoon. After his story was aired and posted online, donations began pouring into the GoFundMe page set up to help him raise money for the trip to Hawaii.
The page only had about $2,600 dollars Monday night, but by Tuesday morning it topped $12,000. One donor listed on the GoFundMe page as Adam Moskovitz donated $7,000, leaving a post that read:
"From one vet to another, I am honored by your service and dedication to this great country. I saw your story on the news tonight and couldn't help myself but help you fulfill your dream."
Coles will make the trip with his traveling companion Dennis Boyd, who is, himself, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. They promised to take plenty of pictures.
"To all those who donated," Coles said. "God Bless them all. They are true Americans."
Coles served aboard the U.S.S. Bagley during the Pearl Harbor attack. He earned 17 battle stars and served in a number of major battles including Midway, Okinawa and Guadalcanal.
Coles joked that he's seriously considering going to the 100-year anniversary, too. By then, he will be 118-years-old.