With the Christmas season upon us – and the wonderful benevolence that the holiday inspires in the air, it is a perfect time to share with you a truly amazing story of giving by an individual who made an uncommon commitment to helping lighthouses and the mission of the American Lighthouse Foundation.
As many of ALF’s supporters and friends know, saving lighthouses and preserving them for future generations takes a great deal of teamwork, but that doesn’t mean a person’s individual efforts cannot make a great difference.
On April 10, 2014, Gary Pros from Cleveland, Ohio, lost his battle with cancer at the age of 62, but his passing will never extinguish the “shining light” of his passion and dedication for lighthouses. In fact, the legacy he has gifted to all of us modern day “keepers” is nothing short of amazing and inspirational.
Gary was just like so many of us – he loved lighthouses and would visit and photograph as many of them as possible. Gary was proud of the fact that some of his letters and photographs were even published in the national magazine, Lighthouse Digest.
Gary also worked for everything he ever had in life. Brought up to save and be frugal with his money, Gary lived his life in very modest fashion – choosing to forgo much in the way of comforts and material items that many people often pursue so that he could build his life-savings for one purpose only – to help lighthouses.
Unbeknownst to his family, when Gary passed away, they learned he had accrued through savings and investments nearly $350,000, which he made sure was later gifted to the American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF).
Such gifts of this magnitude are very rare in the nonprofit sector, and to learn that Gary Pros amassed every single penny through hard work and frugal savings makes this gift even more inspiring to ALF.
Gary’s sister Sherrie Pros noted, “It is important to me for Gary to be remembered by people. Even though they will never know him personally, I hope they come to know that Gary’s passion was to visit and photograph lighthouses, and to help save them through his life-long, selfless efforts to contribute to their preservation.”
The American Lighthouse Foundation is extremely proud to honor the lighthouse legacy of Gary Pros and his unassuming generosity. His commitment to lighthouses will continue to “shine bright” for countless thousands of people to learn about – now and into the future, inside the keeper’s house at Owls Head Light Station, headquarters for the American Lighthouse Foundation.
A plaque in Gary’s honor will grace the walls of ALF’s lighthouse interpretive center. This will provide the impetus for sharing Gary’s wonderful story with the public as visitors inquire about the person who inspired this richly deserved tribute.
The American Lighthouse Foundation is sure that it can speak for everyone – from the organization’s many members and supporters to lighthouse enthusiasts and preservationists nationwide, in that we owe Gary Pros a deep debt of gratitude. The best way to honor Gary and his truly heartfelt gift is to continue to strive for excellence in our mission of lighthouse preservation – and ALF will do just that.
The American Lighthouse Foundation salutes (posthumously) Gary Pros– a real “keeper” in every sense of the word!