The idea for the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, or GLLKA, was born at a gathering back in 1981 at Grosse Point Lighthouse in Illinois, and in the following year the first informal meeting was held in Michigan. The organization was officially launched in 1983 and it’s going strong 40 years later, remaining dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Great Lakes lighthouses. Since 1986, GLLKA has cared for the St. Helena Island Light Station on Lake Michigan, and volunteers carry out a variety of preservation projects. GLLKA also cares for the Cheboygan River Front Range Light.
There are three guests in this episode. Wayne Sapulski is a Great Lakes lighthouse historian, author, and photographer, and a tireless volunteer for GLLKA. He’s also the author of two books and many articles on Great Lakes lighthouses. One of Wayne’s claims to fame is that he has physically visited all 360 lighthouses on the Great Lakes, on both the U.S. and Canadian sides.
Mark and Michele VanderVelde have been involved with St. Helena Island Light Station as volunteers for well over 20 years. In 2019, Mark and Michele received the Richard L. Moehl Award for Excellence in Volunteerism for the countless hours they have contributed in support of GLLKA activities. Wayne Sapulski also received the same award that year.
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