Digest>Archives> Nov/Dec 2021

A Light of Hope in the Heartland

By Dennis Douty


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Carol & Dennis Douty in front of the Johnson ...

When you hear the word lighthouse, Nebraska is not what most people think of. But they do exist.

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The ribbon cutting ceremony for the Lakeview ...

Like many Americans, people in the heartland were ready to see 2020 be done with so we could get back to doing normal things. We followed the rules about masks and social distancing and not meeting in large numbers. Some of us used this time to do things for our community, such as getting ourselves a lighthouse for Johnson Lake, which is located in the middle of landlocked Nebraska, just south of Lexington,

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Nebraska’s Lakeview Acres Lighthouse was built to ...

Cinde Wendell, a Lakeview Acres resident and project leader, along with other Lakeview Acres residents, set a goal of placing a 16-foot-high, neighbor-friendly solar light replica of the Bodie Island Lighthouse, located on the outer Banks in North Carolina, on the rock jetty that protects Lakeview Acres at Johnson Lake.

The project soon turned into a Johnson Lake and surrounding area project. But all of this couldn’t have happened unless the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, (CNPPID) which owns the property that the lighthouse would stand on, would give its okay.

Not only did the CNPPID give its blessing for the structure, but it also contributed site preparation and construction of the concrete base upon which the replica would stand. A special thanks to Jim Brown and the CNPPID board for all they did, and to Larry Paulsen, for granting access for construction through the Natural Rose and Lakeshore Marina area.

The funds to purchase the lighthouse from the Lighthouse Authority in Pennsylvania were raised through “GIVE BIG LEXINGTON,” Johnson Lake Chamber of Commerce, Lakeview Acre residents, users of Johnson Lake and lighthouse enthusiasts.

Despite some delays because of the pandemic in getting supplies to build it, the lighthouse arrived at Johnson Lake and was set in place on June 20, 2021. A dedication ceremony that followed the annual boat parade was held on July 4th, 2021, with the ribbon being cut by Randy Stieben, President of the Lakeview Acres HOA.

The Bodie Island replica joins its sister replica lighthouse on the North shore of Johnson Lake at Mallard Beach to improve safety for boaters and lake users, enhance and improve the beauty of the lake and jetty and to provide an easily seen landmark to navigate by day and night. It also strengthens positive relationships through CNPPID, Johnson Lake residents and community businesses working together.

In her dedication speech, project leader Cinde Wendell stated “Don’t forget that maybe you are the lighthouse in someone’s storm. This project has turned out to be a positive beacon during a dark, pandemic time. May the lighthouse always serve as a shining example of hope for all of us.”

This story appeared in the Nov/Dec 2021 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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