For many, it’s a hard thing to imagine.
But thanks to a 6-foot replica of the Metropolis Hope Light Project (MHLP) lighthouse, the organization’s members are hoping that will soon become a reality.
Parker Custom Machine Shop, the builders of the lighthouse, dropped off the replica at Metropolis City Hall Wednesday afternoon. The model is one-fifth the size of the actual “with the intention to show what we’re going for. It’s hard to imagine,” said MHLP committee member Richard Corzine.
For seven years, the placement of a lighthouse on the Ohio River in their hometown has been the dream of Rudy and Beverly Bess, who established the Hope Light Foundation as a 501c3 non-profit public charity in 2005. Originally from Metropolis, the couple now lives in Hazelwood, Mo. The foundation’s goal is help communicate awareness of cancer signs and symptoms in order to increase early cancer detection and survivorship.
To the Besses — Beverly has been a survivor since 1983 — and MHLP committee members, even getting to this stage has been a long road since Bess first approached the Metropolis City Council about building a lighthouse on the banks of the Ohio River. But with renewed vigor in the project, they are determined to see it done this year.
“We’re about $20,000 short of the ($40,000 construction cost) goal,” Corzine said. “My goal is to see it built and erected this summer and will do what it takes to get it done. This has been going on for seven years. It’s time to get it built.”
Corzine said he has several fundraisers in mind to make that happen over the coming weeks.
The lighthouse, known as the Hope Light, is to be a “beacon of hope” providing cancer patients, cancer survivors and their family and friends a peaceful and quiet place to meditate. Locally, the project is overseen by MHLP, an entity of the Hope Light Foundation.
Land for the project is being provided at no cost to the foundation by the City of Metropolis. Design of the project is also being provided at no cost by Eggemeyer Associates Architects of Carbondale. Construction of the actual, and replica, lighthouse is by by Parker Custom Machine Shop with the cost being paid by MHLP.
MHLP chairman Bill Carrell noted the replica can be viewed at various businesses. It’s first stop is Metropolis City Hall. Business owners interested in displaying the replica, hosting a fundraiser or donating to the cause can contact Carrell at 524-9642 or Corzine at 635-4168.
Orders for the personalized red bricks that will encircle the lighthouse’s base are being taken. Bricks are $35 for three lines with 12 characters per line.
Order forms are available at Metropolis City Hall, City National Bank, www.hopelightproject.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/MetropolisHopeLight. Donations are also accepted at City National Bank where the Metropolis Hope Light Project account is established.
Carrell emphasized that once construction of the lighthouse is complete, the MHLP committee will continue with the goal of raising funds for 1) nationwide cancer research and 2) assisting local cancer patients.
“We’ve gotten several calls asking what we’re doing,” Carrell said of the project’s future. “This is it. We have a definite plan and something to show people. We are going to build this lighthouse.”
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