While the official dedication and lighting ceremony of the lighthouse is being scheduled for late September or early October, Hope Light Foundation founder Rudy Bess couldn’t pass up the opportunity Wednesday to say “thanks” for making a dream of he and his wife Beverly come true — a lighthouse dedicated to the fight against cancer standing as a beacon of hope on the Ohio River.
“I called up Mayor Billy McDaniel and gave him my vision nine years ago,” Bess said. “He said, ‘Let’s do it.’ Here we are and we finally got a lighthouse.”
Located in Dorothy Miller Park, the 30-foot lighthouse was erected on June 4. Work on the walkways surrounding it began July 9 with Kotter Ready Mix pouring the concrete, made from cement donated by Lafarge, and contractor Billy Robbins and his crew finishing the outside collar of the lighthouse. The 900 bricks surrounding the lighthouse base were laid on July 25 by volunteers from Eggemeyer Associates Architects. The Carbondale-based firm has been affiliated with the project since 2005, providing the architectural/engineering design at no cost.
“(Then-president/CEO) Andy Eggemeyer, I and Bill (Carrell) met in 2005 to discuss this project,” Bess said. “At the time, Andy’s wife Toni had esophageal cancer, and he was doing it for her. Two years later, he was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in 2009, but the company and current president/CEO Mark Dillon kept the dream alive.”
Carrell has been the chairman of the Metropolis Hope Light Project (MHLP) committee since it was formed in 2006. He acknowledged past and present committee members for “putting up with me and the project for nine years. I appreciate what they’ve done.”
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