By Bob Trapani, Jr.
The lighthouse community has been empowered. Never before in lighthouse history has an opportunity such as the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act offered “we the people” a chance to have instrumental roles in saving America’s historic beacons. In every sense, we are living a moment in history yet to be judged by the hands of time, and therefore, possess the ability to forge an outcome that makes both future preservationists and ourselves proud.
What is the magic formula to ensuring success in lighthouse preservation? In reality, there isn’t any. The only thing that will enable under manned and under funded non-profits to win at this perpetual battle is a simple devotion to duty. How much the lighthouse community wants it and how far they are willing to sacrifice are the determining factors as to whether or not history shines brightly on this moment in time one day.
People are stepping forward like never before in a response to the “call for arms” being sounded by the lighthouse preservation community. Such a response to the plight of our nation’s lights is heart warming and commendable. The power of dedicated individuals coming together for one common cause is a great influence capable of achieving the most difficult of goals. Yet, for all this excitement, satisfaction and accomplishment, the leadership of lighthouse organizations must remain diligently on watch.
While lighthouse preservation is being enthusiastically met at every turn right now, there will come a point where the euphoria subsides and some of the luster lost for such a demanding challenge. We need to be ever mindful that our message will one day “get old.” People will tire and become indifferent to our call for help to save lighthouses. It is against human nature for people to sustain a high level of interest and support for any one thing, including lighthouse preservation, over long periods of time.
In light of this unavoidable consequence for such a passionate and intense endeavor as lighthouse preservation, each organization must create and foster an internal culture built on pride in our work and principal that speaks to our heart – revealing an honor that won’t permit quitting. Along the winding and long road we’re on, there will be times when these attributes alone will guide us through the rough seas of time. Most solid lighthouse preservation organizations have just a few strong-willed leaders – people who stay the course when the chips are down and others have scattered. These are the individuals most critical to the future success of lighthouse preservation.
Are you one of these special people? If so, then you have most likely run the gamut of emotions with your devotion to duty. When you feel the “fun” is gone, when “volunteer” work feels like a job, when you have no free time and when you have questioned the extent of your commitment on more than one occasion, then take heart, for you are just the person for the job!
What lighthouse preservation needs now more than ever, in addition to money and resources, are special leaders who possess a devotion to duty. When more individuals in each organization understand the needs of our mission, the better we become at ensuring the long-term success of lighthouse preservation. Volunteer work in the field of lighthouse preservation isn’t now, and never will be, a matter of convenience.
Instead, it is nothing less than a matter of will and sacrifice. Those special people who count the costs and stay the course will be the ones who make the biggest difference at saving our lighthouse heritage.
In plain words, how do you describe our “duty” and whom does it involve? It is spelled out in this manner...
The destiny of America’s lighthouses hangs in the balance and you alone can be the difference maker. The choice is yours as to whether some lighthouses will be saved or others lost forever. History doesn’t afford second chances so please consider the value and importance of your DUTY!