Jim Underwood – President CCLF

ONE GIANT LEAP

Last month, just 16 months after breaking ground, we held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the completion of construction of the first of three replica keepers’ cottages, and a restroom facility. On behalf of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation, a very special thank you to our benefactors, builders and believers!

With only ten years on the Board, I was one of the new kids whom Bob Merrilees inspired with his vision of one day recreating the historic lighthouse grounds and buildings to an earlier day – a time when the United States Space and Missile program was in its nascent rocket journey to space, the moon and beyond. “What was once, can be again,” became our shared vision for the future.

Fast forward and here we are today, achieving success – which would not be possible without the dedicated effort on the part of so many, it is impossible to name and thank each one individually. There are a few, however, who, in providing their time, talent and treasure, were vital to the Foundation reaching this milestone achievement.

Without the generous support of our benefactors, none of this would have been possible. Certainly, the Foundation’s Sponsors are true community beacons as their donations have provided the funding to sustain Foundation operations and support our vision. Most significantly, the two benefactors whose generous grants of $500K and $250K made the construction possible are, respectively, the Brevard County Commissioners Space Coast Tourist Development Council; and the State of Florida. We sincerely thank all of you.

Our builders include those who provided their skills and expertise to design and build these beautiful buildings. To all those from RZK Architects, the Construction Engineering Group (CEG), and Kinley Construction who helped us bring history back to life, thank you.

And then there are our believers, those who never gave up, who shared a vision and persevered through countless hours of planning and approval meetings, overcoming all obstacles to turn our vision into reality. From our dedicated Foundation membership, I personally wish to thank RADM Bob and Bev Merrilees, Ginny Davis, Rocky Johnson and Hal Row, our Project Manager. And from the Air Force, I’d also like to thank Sonny Witt, Tom Penders, Robert Elliott, Mike Blaylock and the ten Commanders of the 45th Space Wing whom we have served. Words do not adequately convey the deeply felt thanks you all deserve.

This was no “small step,” and the results are spectacular. What was once, is again!

See you at the Lighthouse!

Jim

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