After years of planning, changes and fundraising, Rudy and Beverly Bess saw that dream become a reality on June 4.
While the Besses’ dream has become a reality, the vision of the Metropolis Hope Light site at Dorothy Miller Park is not complete. A landscaped sitting area and walkways are being completed surrounding the lighthouse.
That work started July 9 with Kotter Ready Mix pouring the concrete and contractor Billy Robbins and his crew finishing the outside collar of the lighthouse. The concrete work also allowed for the installation of walkways and a base for 900 personalized bricks around the lighthouse. Cement for the project was donated by Lafarge. Bricks will be laid by volunteers in the next couple weeks.
“So far, we have sold about 200 bricks in the past seven years,” Rudy Bess said. “Unfortunately, many folks who bought personalized bricks or purchased for others have passed away.”
Forms to purchase the personalized bricks are available at Metropolis City Hall, City National Bank, the Metropolis Public Library or www.hopelightproject.com. There are three style options:
• a 4x8 brick is $35 providing three lines with up to 12 characters/spaces per line.
• an 8x8 brick with writing only is $70 providing six lines with up to 12 characters/spaces per line.
• an 8x8 brick with a logo and short message is $100.
The red clay bricks can be “in memory of” anyone who has passed away or “in honor of” for any individual wanting to put their name and/or family member names on a brick that will be seen for many years to come. Of the brick costs, $18 per brick is tax deductible.
Donations to the Metropolis Hope Light Project (MHLP) are also being accepted to go toward the lighthouse’s maintenance costs. All of these donations are tax deductible to the nonprofit public charity. They can be made at at City National Bank where the project account is established.
“When we get the bricks around it, it’s going to be so awesome,” said Beverly Bess, the morning of the lighthouse’s installation. “This is a dream come true. It’s an inspiration to so many people that are fighting the battle and to survivors that we’ve been waiting for a long time. It’s finally coming together.”
For seven years, the placement of a lighthouse on the Ohio River in their hometown has been the dream of the Besses, who established the Hope Light Foundation as a 501c3 non-profit public charity in 2005 following the deaths of Rudy’s nephew and one of Beverly’s closest friends within 15 minutes of each other due to cancer. Originally from Metropolis, the couple, who now lives in Hazelwood, Mo., “put it together,” said Beverly Bess, herself a cancer survivor since 1983. “We are lighthouse photographers. Light means hope. So we named it the Hope Light.”
The foundation’s goal is three fold: 1) to help communicate awareness of cancer signs and symptoms in order to increase early cancer detection and survivorship; 2) to provide empowerment to those dealing with cancer and 3) to build hope.
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