E. J. Warren and Deane Rykerson honored at American Lighthouse Foundation Gala

(Above: At the American Lighthouse Foundation Annual Lighthouse Gala, L to R: ALF Associate Director Ann-Marie Trapani; David Kelleher, chair of Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse; Brad Coupe, chair of […]

(Above: At the American Lighthouse Foundation Annual Lighthouse Gala, L to R: ALF Associate Director Ann-Marie Trapani; David Kelleher, chair of Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse; Brad Coupe, chair of Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse; ALF Secretary Irma Streeter; Bill Jenkins, chair of the Cape Cod Chapter; Jim Streeter, chair of Avery Point Lighthouse Society; President Eric Davis; Second Vice President Tom Kenworthy; First Vice President Ross Tracy; Todd Gipstein, chair of New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation; and ALF Executive Director Bob Trapani, Jr. Photo by Dominic Trapani.)

At the American Lighthouse Foundation’s annual Lighthouse Gala on April 28, held this year at the Four Points by Sheraton in Eastham, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, volunteers of each of the chapters of the foundation were recognized for their outstanding volunteer contributions. The recipient of the Len Hadley Volunteerism award for Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses was E. J. Warren of Manchester, NH.

L to R: American Lighthouse Foundation President Eric Davis; Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses Chairman Ross Tracy; and award recipient E. J. Warren.

For almost the entire 2011 open house season at Portsmouth Harbor Light, E.J. was the only volunteer who was there every single week. She stopped coming at the end of the season only because her new job prevented it. Until then, she was the first person at the lighthouse every Sunday. She helped set up the merchandise tables and literature, and she staffed the merchandise table most of the time. We had some of our biggest days sales-wise in the history of the organization with E.J. at the sales table. E.J.’s friendly banter with visitors created a favorable first impression for many visitors.

The award is named for the late Len Hadley, a charter member of the American Lighthouse Foundation whose dedication and good humor exemplified the spirit of volunteerism.

Also honored at the Gala with a Distinguished Community Service Award was historic preservation architect Deane Rykerson of Kittery, Maine, for his dedication to the restoration of Whaleback Lighthouse.

Deane Rykerson, left, receives his Distinguished Community Service Award from ALF First Vice President and FPHL Chairman Ross Tracy.

Deane has been involved in building, environment, and design for over thirty years — from his background in preservation house carpentry in the 1970s and wooden boat restoration at Mystic Seaport to his present expertise in historic preservation.

Deane became involved with the effort to restore Whaleback Lighthouse in Kittery, Maine, soon after ownership of Whaleback was transferred to the American Lighthouse Foundation in June 2009. Deane was the primary author of the Historic Structure Report on Whaleback that was completed with the help of a team of experts in early 2010.

Later in 2010, Deane donated a great deal of his time to help develop an exhibit on the history and preservation of Whaleback Lighthouse that was featured at the Portsmouth Historical Society’s Discover Portsmouth Center. Deane also gave a public presentation on Whaleback in conjunction with the exhibit.

Since that time, Deane has been integral in the development of plans for a docking system at Whaleback. He has worked closely with representatives of the American Lighthouse Foundation and its chapter, Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, on these plans.

As a Kittery Point resident, Deane has taken a strong personal interest in Whaleback Lighthouse. His passion for the project has led him to make a number of trips to the lighthouse, in spite of the lack of landing facilities. Once, when it was realized that loose glass blocks in one of the tower’s window could allow water to enter and cause damage, Deane traveled out by himself in his small inflatable boat, made the difficult landing at the ledge, and sealed the glass blocks securely so that they would stand up to winter storms.

Jim Leslie, second from right, received a President's Award in recognition of his stellar restoration work on eight American Lighthouse Foundation lighthouses.


The Annual Lighthouse Gala was attended by volunteers and lighthouse fans from far and wide. Gala attendees were entertained by the folk music duo Neptune’s Car, who performed their hit song “Lighthouse Keeper.” Other awards presented at the event included prestigious “Keeper of the Light” awards for lighthouse preservation to the Nauset Light Preservation Society and Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc., and a President’s Award to Jim Leslie of J.B. Leslie Company for his stellar restoration work on eight ALF lighthouses (including Portsmouth Harbor and Whaleback lights).