Alex Dias of the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse was presented with an ALF Len Hadley Volunteerism award during the American Lighthouse Foundation’s annual Gala, which was held at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine, on May 7, 2017.
Alex Dias joined the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse in 2012, but his fascination with lighthouses dates back to 2005 while he was in the 5th grade. David Kelleher, an ALF Len Hadley Volunteerism Award recipient for 2007, gave a presentation to Alex’s 5th grade class about Pomham Rocks Lighthouse and the other Rhode Island lighthouses. At that point, Alex was instantly hooked!
In 2012, when Alex was a junior in high school, he had to choose a topic for his senior project – the choice was an easy one. He reached out to Dave Kelleher who agreed to mentor his project; a history of Rhode Island’s lighthouses and scale replica of the Bullocks Point Lighthouse, which was demolished in 1939 following the destructive hurricane of 1938.
Seven years after Dave’s original presentation, he was now taking Alex out to Pomham Rocks for a first-time visit. Since then Alex has volunteered for just about every aspect of the chapter’s operation.
He began participating on the events committee in 2012 and continues to volunteer at numerous events throughout the year, including the Providence Boat Show, the FPRL Annual Banquet, Earth Day Clean-up, Summer BBQ, Pomham Santa and many others activities.
In 2015, Alex established the first official website for the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. At that time, he also began gathering historic information; with most of the vintage photographs seen on the website a direct result of his efforts. He keeps it up to date with news and events, along with fixing any technical problems that invariably arise.
Alex became a non-voting member of the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse in 2015, and one year later, was elevated to a full voting chapter Executive Committee member.
In addition, Alex works with Joe Estrella, an ALF Len Hadley Volunteerism Award recipient in 2012, on the boats for which he serves as 1st mate. He is working toward his 100-ton Captain’s license under Joe’s supervision so Pomham Rocks will have another licensed Captain to get members and others to the offshore lighthouse. He also has obtained his First Aid/CPR certification and completed man over board drills with FPRL and the Coast Guard.
Alex also serves as grounds committee chair for the island’s landscaping needs. Duties include lawn mowing, repairing the walkway and painting the interior of the Oil House.
This past year Alex created the new format of the FPRL newsletter, “The Pomham Glow.” This now allows the chapter to print and mail it in-house at a lower cost.
In the summer of 2016, Alex was featured in a mini documentary series “The Last Lightkeepers” by Rob Apse, which highlighted individuals and preservation groups who have taken on the responsibility to protect light stations for future generations. And lastly, we must mention that he has accomplished all this while being a fulltime student at the University of Rhode Island from which he will graduate on May 21, 2017.