Storm Heroes is a web site containing the writing and artistic work of Bob and Ann-Marie Trapani respectively. They have been avid lighthouse and lifesaving aficionados since 1994 and have worked full-time over the last ten years in the field of historic lighthouse and lifesaving preservation. Together with their children – Nina, Katrina and Dominic, the Trapani family has seen their personal journey in maritime preservation transition from Delaware to Maine as they continue to work at what is best described as a family passion.
Inspired by their past and present experiences, Bob and Ann-Marie have created the web site Storm Heroes as a way to help educate, entertain and inspire others as to the importance of preserving America’s lighthouse and lifesaving heritage.
Today Bob serves as the executive director (since May 2005) for the American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF), a national lighthouse preservation organization headquartered in Rockland, Maine. ALF has responsibility for the preservation of 20 historic light stations under its stewardship, which are located throughout New England from Connecticut to Maine.
Bob also serves as the 2nd vice-president (since October 2007) for the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee, a consortium of organizations and individuals dedicated to the preservation, restoration and rehabilitation of American lighthouses. It functions as a national lighthouse preservation movement leadership council and issues forum
In addition, Bob served as the director (2007-08) for the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, which is home to the nation’s most significant collection of Fresnel lenses and other lighthouse and aids to navigation artifacts.
Bob previously co-founded the nonprofit Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation (DRBLHF) in 1999 and served as the organization’s first president from 1999 to 2005. Under his leadership the organization was able to secure a long-term lease of Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2002. Two years later the DRBLHF obtained ownership of Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse from the Department of the Interior through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse would make history in June 2003 when it became the first offshore light in the mid-Atlantic to be opened to the general public for educational tours.
During Bob’s six-year tenure with the DRBLHF, the organization also obtained a long-term lease of Liston Range Rear Light from the U.S. Coast Guard and forged a ground-breaking partnership with the Delaware River & Bay Authority for the preservation of Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse.
In addition to his passion for lighthouse preservation, Bob served four years – from 2000 to 2003 – as the executive director of the Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation, caretakers of the historic 1876 Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum, located in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The lifesaving station is one of the few remaining along the Atlantic seaboard still located on its original site and is opened to the general public for educational tours that teach about the rich history of the United States Life-Saving Service.
During this time (2000-01) Bob also worked part-time as a Vessel Dispatcher for the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River & Bay at the Cape Henlopen Ship Reporting Tower, which is located in Lewes on the tip of Cape Henlopen overlooking the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. The Maritime Exchange staffs the ship reporting tower in partnership with the Pilots’ Association for the Bay & River Delaware and monitors all commercial shipping traffic transiting the Delaware Bay and River for ports of call in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Bob authored a story entitled, “In Harm’s Way with no Place to Hide” that recalls working a shift at the Cape Henlopen Ship Reporting Tower on a stormy night.
In June 2001 Lighthouse Digest contributing writer Jeremy D’Entremont authored a story entitled, More than One Way to Help the Maritime Community... that presented an overview of Bob’s maritime activities during this time period. Bob authored his first book – Journey Along the Sands: A History of the Indian River Life-Saving Station, in 2002.
Bob has been a contributing writer for the United States Lighthouse Society’s Keeper’s Log, Wreck & Rescue, a publication of the United States Life-Saving Service Heritage Association and Lighthouse Digest magazine.
In addition, Bob has authored two books with Myst and Lace Publishers: Lighthouses of New Jersey and Delaware: History, Mystery, Legend & Lore (2005), and Lighthouses of Maryland and Virginia: History, Mystery, Legend & Lore (2006). His fourth book was released by The History Press in March 2007 and is entitled, Delaware Lights: A History of Lighthouses in the First State.
Bob also enjoys volunteering his time for the United States Coast Guard as an Auxiliarist, having spent five years working with the USCG Aids to Navigation Team Cape May, New Jersey (2000-2005). During this time he also worked with the USCG Aids to Navigation Team Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In Maine Bob has worked with the Coast Guard aids to navigation team in South Portland (2006) and the USCG cutter ABBIE BURGESS, a 175-foot coastal buoy tender based in Rockland (2007), as a member of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Mount Desert Flotilla. He presently works aboard the USCG cutter TACKLE, a 65-foot harbor tug based in Rockland, and serves as an aids to navigation technician for minor aids with the unit.
Bob was awarded the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to the field of aids to navigation from 2001 through 2003. Bob’s officer-in-charge at the time – Senior Chief Dennis Dever of USCG ANT Cape May (2000-04) authored a feature entitled, All in a Good ATON Day that highlights his service to the Coast Guard during this time period. Bob also received a USCG Letter of Commendation in 2009 for his work in aids to navigation with the USCGC TACKLE.
Ann-Marie is presently the associate director for the American Lighthouse Foundation, overseeing the organization’s member-based programs. She is also ALF’s webmaster and graphic design individual.
She previously served on the board of directors for the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation for six years (1999-2005) and was the webmaster for the DRBLHF during this time as well. Ann-Marie also held the position of office manager for the Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation, caretakers of the Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum, from 2000-2003.
Ann-Marie is a talented computer graphic artist who enjoys using her skills to increase awareness for lighthouse preservation and the public’s appreciation for America’s rich lighthouse heritage. Ann-Marie’s artistic creativity ranges from graphic arts and web design to advertisement and logo development. She is responsible for creating the American Lighthouse Foundation’s new logo, which debuted in April 2008.