Sharon White and Bob Zimman of ALF’s Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses were each presented with an ALF Len Hadley Volunteer Award during the American Lighthouse Foundation’s annual gala, which was held at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine, on April 29, 2018.
Sharon has been a Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse volunteer for six years and a member of the chapter leadership committee for most of that time. She also consistently volunteers at the vast majority of the Sunday open houses at lighthouse in spite of the fact that she has to travel about an hour from her home in Nashua, New Hampshire. She even finds time to help with Christmas decorating, clean-up projects and other volunteer activities.
As a teacher for an early Headstart program, Sharon is responsible for the care and education of young, inner-city children. She brings her considerable experience as a teacher to her role as a lighthouse volunteer. Her specialty is the lighthouse watch room, where she tells visitors about Joshua Card, Elson and Connie Small, and the other resident lighthouse keepers of years gone by. Sharon’s favorite part of volunteering is meeting people from all over the globe and having the chance to share the rich history of the light station and the New Hampshire Seacoast.
Volunteering at open houses can have its surprises. As many of you know, it’s commonly believed that Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse has a resident spirit. A couple of years ago, during an open house, Sharon was standing in the watch room when there was a loud pounding sound on the trap door above her, as if someone was trying to get her attention. She yelled to the person in the lantern room and asked if they needed her, but they said that they thought she wanted them. Sharon then went to the picture of longtime keeper Joshua Card on the wall and said, “Was it you? Did you want me?” Suddenly the lights flickered until they almost went out completely.
The Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses are proud to honor Sharon White with a 2018 Len Hadley Volunteer Award!
Although Bob is a relatively new volunteer, he has gotten involved in a big way. Last year, he volunteered at about two-thirds of the Sunday open houses at Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse. Bob also helped out at most of the special school group and other private tours, as well as at one of the nighttime “haunted tours.” He volunteered at the cleanup and painting weekend in the spring, and later in the season he helped organize the storage shed at Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse. And if all that wasn’t enough, Bob narrated a lighthouse cruise for a visiting U.S. Lighthouse Society tour group in the fall. He also has taken an active role on the chapter leadership committee.
Bob served over eleven years on active duty as a U.S. Navy submarine officer, during which time he also earned a masters degree in National Security Affairs. After leaving active duty he spent nearly 35 years working for a variety of companies focused on research and development in support of the Navy. As a retired Naval officer, Bob remembers navigation back in the days before GPS, He recognizes the important role that lighthouses have played for mariners, and he firmly believes that it is critical for us to do what we can to preserve lighthouse history for future generations.
Bob brings his considerable military and professional experience into play as a reliable and hard-working volunteer. He says his favorite part of volunteering is being able to share his knowledge about lighthouses in general – and Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in particular, with visitors. He says he finds it especially rewarding when he gets to interact with student groups when they visit.
The Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses are proud to honor Bob Zimman with a 2018 Len Hadley Volunteer Award!