When interviewed at a vigorous 82 years of age, Hank Dam laughs hard remembering the WWII slogan of Todd Shipyard “the difficult we do every day, the impossible takes a little longer.”
Hank is clearly proud of the ingenuity and hard work of his time at Todd during WWII and the Korean War.
He recalls vivid scenes of the booming yard during WWII with details such as the different colored hard hats for each level of manager, and his personal story of how he rose from iron worker (really the guy who cleaned up) to waterboy, ship painter and more.
Other memories include his walk to work and how, back in the day, you could take a rifle on the Long Island Rail Road to go hunting in the country. At the time of this 2005 interview, Hank also represented lost Long Island history: he was working outside as a berry farmer, wine maker, hunter/trapper and taxidermist.
Hank Dam, May 10, 1922 - May 9, 2012
Unedited interview by Cate Cochran and Carolina Salguero for PortSide NewYork, 2005 at the former Todd Shipyard.