It has been a couple of weeks since I have written. I woke up this morning to the news showing the devastation across central Florida from the tornados last night. The box with talking heads in my room makes it look unreal and distant somehow as I sit comfortably sipping my steaming coffee and check the roof over my head. People are crying, picking through debris of what, just last night, was their life. Hundreds of folks are in need of immediate help. A couple of weeks ago across southwest Missouri (where I grew up) thousands were without power for over a week after an ice storm swept through the area. In both cases as I came to work and checked out the streaming video during lunch, I see a banner across the bottom of the screen with the phone number for the American Red Cross. People depend on them and so they are always doing their job.
To work as a lighthouse keeper meant that you worked nights and slept during the day. There are many stories of keepers rowing small boats out to wrecked vessels and bringing the injured and sick into their own homes for a warm fire and something hot to eat. I spent my first nights as a real keeper during Hurricane Francis in 2004, when we lost power in the city for several days and I was up each night running the light off of a generator. It happened again during Hurricane Jean. People depend on the light and so the keepers were always doing their job.
In the lens room
With each disaster, volunteers of the American Red Cross are there. They help the injured; they find places for folks to stay; they provide a warm fire and something hot to eat. Sounds a lot like being a lighthouse keeper. Last week I re-certified as a CPR instructor. Since I am also a Registered Nurse they practically begged me to be a disaster volunteer as well. Nurses are difficult to find these days. After watching TV this morning, thinking about our traditions here at the lighthouse and what the keepers did for those in need, I think it would be a perfect fit. First meeting is Tuesday night. I’ll keep you updated.