The Governor is interested in learning more about issues that Florida’s Lighthouses face! Wow, how exciting! How humbling! And it is kind of scary! What an opportunity to share our work and vision. Florida’s lighthouses face futures which are both glorious and struggling. Some are stars like well St. Augustine or Ponce or Jupiter or Key West. Others are mired in paper work, red tape and other issues, like Egmont or Mayport. The Coast Guard wants to divest itself of lighthouses and we support that effort. Lots of good people want to do the right thing. We lighthouse preservation types need funding.
The Florida Lighthouse Association a group of about 1000 of us around Florida is trying to get a license plate to help fund lighthouses. Maybe the Governor will help? I hope so. His staffer asked some good questions. He was engaged and interested. He really seemed to care. He asked about the need that lighthouse face. Well, we added it up for him based on a 2002 lighthouse architectural study in Florida. Florida Lighthouses face a $20 Million dollar need. Wow. It is more than even I thought. And I’m someone that spends time pushing others to understand this need. Do I believe that this maritime heritage is so very important? Yes, I do. Do I think we have a responsibility to lead? Yes, absolutely. Saving lighthouses is not only good for a few, it’s good for our state and our culture.

Climbing the Lighthouse Tower Ca

I have been taking this class on-line at Gonzaga University about leadership. I am working on my master’s degree in Organizational Leadership, something I have always wanted. It’s fun and it’s challenging. The challenge comes from doing the work at home where kids and dogs and cats and husband make life akin to a Steve Martin movie. There is action and confusion and drama at the center of our lives.
In all this I am thinking and writing about leadership. Leadership interests me in the way that the Civil War might interest a history buff, or the way that energy might interest a physics major. I personally think true leadership comes from faith in others and a willingness to talk about what’s real so that we can move forward together. I think leadership is also born of struggle, and of a need to change the world for the better.
I am grateful to those who lead because I also think leaders can also be vulnerable. Florida’s lighthouse need is real. And the power they hold to help Florida in return, through heritage tourism and economic impact, is real. The need to protect a shared heritage tied to the sea, well that is like saving the story of old salts, of our grandfather’s fishing trips, and of the way we think Florida looks and feels in our head. We are saving those precious items that make it valuable as a place to live and work in and to visit. This is real too. Sounds canned. It isn’t. We live and breath it here at the lighthouse.
I am extremely grateful to Governor Crist’s staff for looking into saving our maritime heritage. I did not know much about him when he took office. But this is very much appreciated. We’ll see what comes of it, we are all deeply in debt to him if he can help us save Florida’s maritime heritage. It is very much a part of who we are in my view.