26th ANNUAL "VIRTUAL" KEEPERS' WEEKEND --- our first virtual membership meeting!
-- OCTOBER 24, 2020 -- Winners of our first online Auction & Raffle, plus
by Aida and John Havel
Our beloved Lighthouse Society has certainly weathered some storms this year, but we’ve also had some flashes of hope. In April, our annual Board of Directors meeting was conducted by Zoom for the first time ever, and later in the summer, the Board, extremely reluctantly, canceled our Keepers’ Weekend at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and voted to hold a virtual members’ meeting in late October.
We’re happy to report that the virtual members’ meeting, held this past Saturday, October 24, 2020, was both a virtual and very real success! Our President, Bett Padgett, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone, and having both Board members and members from around the country, some of whom had never been to a Keepers’ Weekend, introduce themselves.
Following the introductions, the following awards were presented: the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse award to Tom Ketchum, for volunteer interpretive services to visitors over several years, with a special emphasis on making sure children had a memorable experience at the lighthouse; the Cape Lookout Lighthouse award to volunteer Paula Foster, who during 2018 and 2019 conducted tours and provided context for the information, all with a positive attitude that endeared her to visitors; and the Currituck Beach Lighthouse award to Chris Revelee. Chris’ story is particularly interesting, because he began working at the Currituck Beach Light as part of a community service requirement, and when his hours were complete, he continued to help as needed, cleaning the lighthouse and cleaning up after Hurricane Dorian. Additionally, the Roanoke River Lighthouse award was given to Karen Mastin, who is a longtime lighthouse docent on Friday afternoons and provides an engaging experience for visitors. Finally, the President’s award was presented to Aida Havel, a member of the Society’s board, who has helped with many Society events and projects over the past ten years.
After the awards, members were treated to three presentations by members of the Board: James Charlet, the Board’s newest member shared a fascinating overview of the “sister service” of life-saving stations, and Doug Stover, another Board member, presented a prerecorded talk on the Weather Station in Hatteras Village. Board member John Havel rounded out the group by providing an update on the historic restoration of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, currently scheduled to begin in 2021.
After the presentations, results of the raffle and online Facebook auction were announced. And then…..drumroll…..a very special guest appeared live on our Zoom screens: Monsieur Augustin Fresnel, who provided a delightful and inspiring glimpse of the man who had a bright vision. Monsieur Fresnel, ably portrayed by actor Joseph Smith, a “performing artist of living history” from Montclair, New Jersey, congratulated the Society on its 25 years of existence and on the upcoming 150th anniversary of the lighting of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. He reminded us that lighthouses are not only beacons of light, but also beacons of hope, and on that note, we closed out the meeting and look forward to when we can meet in person and hug each other again.