Owls Head Lighthouse volunteer Bill Burch was presented with a 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 28, 2019.
Many people choose to volunteer at a lighthouse because they either love lighthouses, appreciate history, like to meet new people or enjoy being part of a community project. However, it is not often when someone feels strongly about volunteering because a lighthouse is intricately connected to their family’s history.
Such is the case with Bill Burch who has been volunteering at Owls Head Lighthouse for a number of years now.
Bill explains this importance, noting, “My grandfather Archford Haskins was the last civilian lighthouse keeper at Owls Head Lighthouse. Being a volunteer at Owls Head not only lets me honor our local maritime history but also my family history and their memory. “People who visit the lighthouse love hearing about this family connection.”
On many a Sunday mornings throughout the summer season, visitors to Owls Head Light will find Bill “on watch” in the lantern – greeting them as they climb through the hatchway and then stand in awe as they gaze upon the beautiful 1856 fourth-order Fresnel lens aglow. He is always keenly aware of visitor safety as they climb up and down from the lantern – and you can count on him to be very protective of the priceless Fresnel lens as well.
Bill’s personality may be quiet in nature, but there is an undeniable passion that burns bright within him. He cares deeply about the lighthouse and being there for open houses so that the general public has the opportunity to climb the tower, learn about its history and take in the gorgeous panoramic views.”
Since Owls Head Light Station is headquarters for the American Lighthouse Foundation, we strive hard to open the light tower to the public every weekend from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. Filling all of the shifts each weekend has proven a challenge over time, but one thing is certain, if Bill Burch is available, he will be there on Sunday mornings willing and ready.
In his typical thoughtful manner, Bill wanted to pass along the following sentiments: “I would like to dedicate this award to the memory of my Grandfather, keeper Archford Haskins, and my Aunt Marla Haskins Rogers, aka “The Keeper’s Daughter,” who encouraged me to start volunteering at Owls Head Lighthouse, which is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life.”
We are pleased to honor Bill Burch with a 2019 Len Hadley Volunteer Award!