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There are many creative ways to raise money for lighthouse preservation, and the two interview subjects in this episode of Light Hearted have found one of the most creative. Alison Richardson, a summer resident of Isle au Haut in Maine, and Molly Siegel, an Island Institute fellow on the island, decided to do something special to help raise funds for the island’s lighthouse – they swam all the way around the island in the summer of 2019. The island is 18 miles around, and they raised more than $33,000.
Gary Sredzienski, in addition to being an amazing swimmer, is an accomplished musician and composer who has been playing the piano accordion for more than 40 years. Always an avid swimmer, Gary started experimenting with special gear so that he could swim in winter. In January 2008 he swam about six miles to the island group known as the Isles of Shoals, raising $17,000 for the Krempels Brain Injury Foundation and Stepping Stones of Portsmouth.
Since then, he has completed several more winter swims for various charities, raising more than $80,000, including three swims to raise funds for lighthouse preservation. His first swim for lighthouses was in February 2011, and it raised about $10,000 for Whaleback Lighthouse in Kittery, Maine. The air temperature was about 27F, and the water was about 38F.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org