Walter Fowski and Amy Robinson of the Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse were presented with ALF Len Hadley Volunteerism awards during the American Lighthouse Foundation’s annual Gala, which was held at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine, on May 7, 2017.
Recognition of Walter Fowski as the Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse’s Volunteer of the Year is long overdue. Walter has been a key member of the FOWIL team for more than twelve years. If you haven’t encountered him, it is no surprise. His work is out of the public eye, but visitors enjoy and depend upon the product of his work as soon as they set foot on the island.
Walter is among the longest serving members of the Woodchucks, our dedicated team of groundskeepers and fix-it folks who keep the light station’s landscape maintained in fine fashion. You will have to catch them on Tuesdays – mowing, weed-whacking, planting, and mulching the grounds, and doing everything from shoring-up the boardwalk to helping install a new transformer. If you run into them, the wiry guy in shorts and a goofy T-shirt, streaking to and fro in the thick of it all, the one who knows what he is doing and who knows what needs doing – that guy is Walter!
If a special crew is needed to get an important job done, Walter will be there. He watches the place as if it were his own, always looking for and finding things that need attention before it is too late.
His engineering background qualifies him well; his mind is analytical and he brings a practical know-how to solving a problem, be it electrical, plumbing or carpentry. He can tell you how to do it, but if you hesitate too long you will find he has it done already. He lives by the adage: either do it or get out of the way. That said, he is the nicest and most unassuming guy, one whom everyone admires and enjoys. Walter is a valued volunteer for every year and more than a worthy Len Hadley Volunteerism Award recipient this year. Thank you Walter for so many years of hard work and lively collegiality!
Amy Robinson has been a dedicated FOWIL volunteer for six years. Her enthusiasm is unbounded. At times, it seems that there are three of her. She has two regular duty stations. Her busiest and most visible work is as a tour host or the tower host throughout the summer. She regularly signs up for as many tours as any other docent, and she steps in whenever someone needs a replacement or if staffing of extra tours becomes necessary.
Amy’s second responsibility is as the editor of our quarterly newsletter to all our members and friends, which she packs with concise and informative articles and pictures. Her energy is infectious and her dedication is unqualified. If you saw the Peapod’s maiden voyage on July 4, 2015, the charming lass perched in the stern with the parasol and floppy hat was Amy.
As we have turned to the fun task of furnishing our 1906-era keeper’s house at Wood Island, Amy has been involved. While our feverish Furnishings Committee searched far and wide to find authentic antiques, Amy raised the idea of a floor cloth, a canvas floor covering used in homes – elegant and pedestrian – in the days before linoleum. What an interesting element to add to our turn-of-the-last-century ambiance! Finding one in good condition – and the right size for our kitchen floor would be difficult and expensive, so Amy said she would just make one! No problem! Amy is a creative artist with a “can-do” attitude. Soon, a piece of canvas arrived and Amy prepared the surface and laid out a checkerboard pattern to paint. The painted covering is now ready and beautiful. Visitors will walk across it as they enter the kitchen and be amazed – their distinctive first impression of the restored space will be under their feet.
Amy represents the finest tradition of our volunteers, combining dedication, creativity, enthusiasm and a long-term commitment to our mission. She is a friend to all and a wellspring of ideas for the benefit of our lighthouse. We are honored to present Amy with a Len Hadley Volunteerism Award!