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New England Lighthouse Lovers Donates over $40,000 to the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation for Ongoing Restoration Work

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(l to r) SE Lighthouse Foundation Board members ...

New England Lighthouse Lovers Donates over $40,000 to the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation for Ongoing Restoration Work

New Shoreham, Block Island, RI - On Saturday, October 18, 2003 New England Lighthouse Lovers (NELL), a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, presented a check for $40,196 to the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation at a restoration "Progress Party" held at the lighthouse by the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation. This money was raised during the NELL-hosted “Benefit on the Block” fundraiser held August 9th to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the move of the lighthouse away from the eroding Mohegan Bluffs in 1993.

At the August event, items donated by island and off-island businesses, NELL members and friends, the American Lighthouse Foundation, Harbour Lights and the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation were featured in benefit drawings and a live auction. The auction, conducted by professional auctioneer and appraiser George S. Foster III of Epsom, NH, a NELL member who donated his time and skill, raised nearly $10,000. A limited number of special event Southeast Light on the Move replicas by Harbour Lights were offered for purchase. Harbour Lights Founder and President Bill Younger and Art Director Harry Hine, creator of the model, were on hand to sign these unique pieces. NELL volunteers manned the food tent and offered up hamburgers, hot dogs and home-made brownies while others sold event special tee-shirts, magnets, pins and other memorabilia. Artistic renditions of the Southeast Lighthouse, created by Block Island school students, were turned into sets of eight note cards and, along with the original art pieces, were a popular sale item. Other contributors to the success of the event include individual financial sponsors, donors and those providing gifts-in-kind.

Prior to the presentation, NELL President Ron Foster noted that this is the first year that NELL has held an event of this size for a single lighthouse. In the five years that NELL has been together they have donated to many lighthouses throughout New England including $1500 in October 2002 for a new stairway to the upper levels of the North Light on Block Island. Event coordinator (and Block Island summer resident) Carolyn Carbone said that it was the Southeast Light that started her on her love of lighthouses many years ago, and that after her husband Frank and daughter Kristin, it is the next love of her life. Before presenting the check to the foundation she expressed thanks to Gerry Abbott, Southeast Lighthouse Foundation President, and the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation Board for having the faith and trust in NELL to carry out this event successfully, without interference, and, for their support. Other NELL members present for the presentation were Frank Carbone, NELL Preservation Co-Chair; Linda Graham, a member of the Preservation Committee; Marguerite MacDonald, NELL Nomination Committee Chair and Mary Jane Foster. Also present were Southeast Light Foundation Administrator Lisa Nolan Boudreau and Board Members Dan McLaughlin, Keri Lang, Pam Gasner and Eliot Nurenberg. Dr. Abbott expressed thanks to NELL for hosting the benefit that provided these much needed restoration funds and assured those present that this historic lighthouse will be brought back to its former glory.

Restoration of the lighthouse exterior was begun in August and has shown great progress. A new slate roof has been installed, chimneys rebuilt to their original specifications, bricks have been re-pointed and the granite foundation cleaned. All the windows, removed for restoration, are being returned and installed. Restoration to the inside will follow and continue as additional funds become available.

During the Progress Party, the interior and tower of the lighthouse were open for tours given by members of the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation Board. They also provided cookies and warm cider for the occasion.

If you would like to learn more about NELL you may visit the American Lighthouse Foundation web site at www.LighthouseFoundation.org and click on the NELL chapter. If you would like to learn more about Southeast Light go to the Lighthouse Depot web site at www.LighthouseDepot.com and type in Southeast Light in the search box.

This story appeared in the December 2003 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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