Have you ever stopped to think about what your contribution to lighthouse preservation means? Some people make the mistake of thinking that just because they are not in a
position of leadership within a lighthouse group, or capable of making large donations, that somehow, their contributions might not mean as much. Of course, nothing could be
farther from the truth. I like to think of each person involved in lighthouse preservation as a “connector” from the present to the future of America's lighthouses.
Lighthouses — even when totally saved, must have committed keepers to ensure their future is provided for both with ongoing maintenance and the capability to develop broader educational programs that will serve as a beacon to attract the next generation of
lightkeepers. In a sense, our job is a watch with no end, thus; making each of us truly valuable connectors to our nation's lighthouse heritage — past, present and future.
Each of us has recognized the special meaning and glow of our lighthouse history and acted on our mutual belief that we must do all that we can in the present to save our guiding lights before it's too late. In doing so, our efforts effectively honor the glorious past of America's lighthouses and their keepers, as we build sustainable bridges to ensure a brighter tomorrow for these coastal treasures, whose symbolic importance to our nation goes beyond mere words.
That said, lighthouses do take serious time and money to save, especially if we remain committed to not allowing our efforts to stall from a loss of momentum, financially or
organizationally. When lighthouse preservation projects lose their momentum and are forced to come to a halt, no matter how long, this invariably costs even more precious money and time. Therefore, your efforts and contributions — big or small, count more than sometimes you can see.
Many lighthouse enthusiasts may not be capable of making large jumps in their ability to contribute time and money, but that doesn't mean we can't dedicate ourselves to sacrificing
a bit more of each at doable increments. Whether this means increasing a membership to your favorite organizations one level higher in 2006, sacrificing a few additional volunteer days this year for the good of a lighthouse restoration project, or even serving on a Lighthouse Board of Directors to help intimately guide a project, we can enhance our contributions as "connectors" to the future of America's lighthouse heritage within the boundaries of our personal capabilities.
If we commit to this collectively, imagine the increased power and effectiveness that this would have across the landscape of lighthouse preservation in America? The possibilities are as exciting and rewarding as the lighthouses themselves — but it's up to us to make that first step. You don't have to be in a leadership position to lead by example. Actions always speak louder than words and no matter what level of participation you apply to lighthouse preservation, now is your opportunity to personally demonstrate to your favorite projects that you are committed to “kicking it up a notch” to keep the lights shining in an uncertain world.
Bob Trapani, Jr.
American Lighthouse Foundation
This story appeared in the
May 2006 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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