Jim Underwood – President CCLF

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder…
or Will It Be Christmas in July?

With thirty-three years of Coast Guard service, I’ve had my share of missing out and know well the ache that comes from longing for a loved one’s embrace – from birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, the achievements of my wife and daughter, our families and close friends as well as just the everyday banalities of life. My longest deployments were just shy of five months—two voyages to Antarctica on an icebreaker stationed in Long Beach, CA. I remember how much I missed everything and everyone, particularly since “At-Sea Comms” in 1972 were not at all what they are today. No internet, no email, no cellphones, international phone rates were prohibitive and staying connected to life at home while underway was restricted to a total of seven mail calls in Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, Antarctica, Chile, Peru and Mexico. As the Communications Officer on board, I remember feeling like Santa Clause when the mail came – much like the courtroom scene from The Miracle on 34th Street when the letters to Santa Clause were delivered. And it felt like Christmas, too, as my shipmates and I devoured the letters handwritten in cursive and numbered. We found comfort in the packages containing memories of home.

Fast forward to present day, and I’m now ashore with all the technology one can imagine. Yet as “keeper” of our Cape Canaveral Lighthouse family, I feel that old sense of longing has returned as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to quarantine us all from “normal” life. Celebrations and community events are being postponed or cancelled, while future plans seem indefinitely on hold: our Annual Membership and Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon; Descendants Day Celebration; Lighthouse Foundation’s “Under the Stars” Foundation Gala; a new Sunset with the Lighthouse from Sea…the list seems end-less. Even our Half Marathon/10K, now scheduled as a 10 Miler/10K for November 8, 2020, may be postponed as a result of the virus and the planning for our Annual Sponsors Appreciation Event has yet to begin. I miss these events, but mostly I miss the people who come to them, and the fun interactions we have!

Speaking on behalf of the Board and volunteers, we miss all our lighthouse visitors – but I assure you, we remain vigilant as our work behind the scenes continues. The restoration painting of the lighthouse exterior is complete, new bricks have been engraved and placed, new displays have been completed in the museum and lighthouse. Rocking chairs and benches have been ordered—there are a few left for purchase as a donation to the Foundation. Our website facelift is almost ready for public viewing, and our Keeper’s Closet Gift Shop continues to amaze with new and desirable items—ready for your return possibly as early as this month. Now, that would be a Christmas in July!

During the long Antarctic voyages, our log entries were for the most part routine: “Underway as before.” They never described the sheer beauty and expanse of the ocean, the vastness of the blanket of stars wrapping you in the night sky, nor the peace which accompanied the endless silence of Antarctica. And yet, “Underway as before” somehow still captures it all. Until we are together again…

Keep safe, keep shinning!

Jim

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July 2020 Newsletter

The latest edition of the Canaveral Beacon is available now. It includes articles and pictures on Lighthouse Museum and Keeper’s Closet Gift Shop highlights. Also included is an article about painting the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, along with a little humor.

Read about Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation recognition of Hal Row for his Outstanding Performance and Selfless Devotion as the Keeper’s Cottage Museum Volunteer Construction Project Manager 2018-2019.

This month’s Volunteer Spotlight features R. Norman and Elaine Moody. Meet Norman and Elaine, and read about their lighthouse experience in the July newsletter.

You and your family can be part of the lighthouse restoration. Order your engraved brick and join in the history of the lighthouse. You can use the form in the newsletter to order your brick using traditional mail, or go to the Keepers’ Walkway page and order your brick online.

Check out some of the upcoming events for the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation and the Florida Lighthouse Association. For information on upcoming Florida Lighthouse Association events, visit Florida Lighthouse Association.

You can view the newsletter at:

Canaveral Beacon – July 2020

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COVID-19 and Lighthouse Operations

Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, access to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is limited to essential personnel. Tours of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and other visitor locations have been suspended. You can visit the 45 Space Wing COVID-19 information page for additional information.

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Lighthouse Tours

Canaveral Lighthouse Tours is now conducting weekly excursions in small groups to tour the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and historic spaceflight launch complexes. Tours are offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month.

You can read a little about Shelley and Gerry Parker, owners of Cape Canaveral Tours in this month’s newsletter. The tours are an excellent opportunity to see the progress being made in the Keepers’ Cottage construction.

Plan and book your lighthouse tour today at Canaveral Lighthouse Tours, or call 321-307-2900 to make your reservations.

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Annual Foundation Sponsorship

Are you or your organization interested in being a Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation sponsor? You can find more information on our Lighthouse Foundation Sponsorship page. It includes a sponsorship letter from Foundation President Jim Underwood, and the Annual Sponsorship Form with more details on sponsorship levels.

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First Keeper’s Cottage Funded

On October 10th, 2017 the Brevard County Commissioners approved the Tourism Development Council recommendation to fund $500,000.00 for construction of the first Keeper’s Cottage for the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse. Restoration of the Keeper’s Cottages has been a fundamental goal of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation since its establishment in 2002.

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Florida Lighthouse Association (FLA)

A Few Words about the Florida Lighthouse Association (FLA)
Bob Merrilees
Former President, Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation

The Florida Lighthouse Association is a nonprofit group of citizen activists dedicated to the preservation of the 30 remaining historic lighthouses that line our state’s 1,350-mile coastline. Once central to the economic growth and settlement of our nation, many of Florida’s lighthouses face uncertain futures. We encourage members of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation to support FLA by joining and attending meetings. For details check out the website at www.floridalighthouses.org . FLA grants have helped us toward our goals of restoring our Canaveral Lighthouse community as it once was. Recently FLA awarded us a grant of $6,000 for the rental of a trailer to be placed at the lighthouse to house our gift shop and display our Brick Project. We ask you to show your appreciation by joining FLA today!

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