Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2014

Harrison Honored by Coast Guard

By Kathleen Finnegan


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(l-r) BMC Austin Olmstead, OIC, USCG, Station ...
Photo by: Kathleen Finnegan

In a surprise event attended by close friends and Coast Guard personnel, Timothy Harrison, editor of Lighthouse Digest, was inducted as an Honorary Chief in the United States Coast at an informal luncheon held at the Bluebird Restaurant in Machias, Maine this past November 1st.

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Harrison, who thought he was simply meeting friends George and Wendy Morrison for lunch, was caught totally by surprise when Morrison escorted him into the restaurant’s banquet room to a thunderous roar of applause by those in attendance.

The idea to have the Coast Guard honor Harrison was the brainchild of BMC George Morrison (USCG, ret.) who had followed Harrison’s lighthouse exploits, especially in the restoration of Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, Maine as well as his efforts as editor of Lighthouse Digest.

In addressing those in attendance, Morrison, said of Harrison, “He is very giving and compassionate and always thinks of others first. What he has done in his lifetime is quite a feat, from working to save various and many lighthouses around the country, writing numerous lighthouse history books, founding a major lighthouse preservation group, starting a lighthouse museum, giving numerous lecture presentations, and working to save Coast Guard history, Tim always gives credit to others who work with him and never takes credit for what he has done . . so it is long overdue for him to get noticed.”

Morrison said it took eight months’ worth of paperwork before the honors and official certificate could be approved and issued. The certificate presented to Harrison was signed by Michael P. Leavitt, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard and personally countersigned by Admiral R.J. Papp, Jr., Commandant of the United States Coast Guard.

Harrison who was visibly surprised by the honor, and with a tear or two welling up in his eyes said he was humbled and honored by the recognition and deeply thankful to all those who attended. He said he was especially amazed how everyone was able to keep this a secret, especially in a small town.

In a touching moment, Morrison then presented his personal Chief’s insignia pin on Harrison’s Little River Lighthouse hat and said, that as a sign of friendship, he was now passing the insignia on to him.

Morrison also presented Harrison with a Coast Guard hat with a Chief Petty Officer’s insignia pin attached to it that came as a gift from CWO Dave Waldrip USCG, (Ret.) who worked with Harrison for many years in the past on numerous lighthouse projects. As Morrison officially congratulated Harrison as Honorary Chief Petty Officer, he turned to the audience and said, “You can now address him as Chief Harrison.”

Among the many in attendance at the ceremony were Terry Rowden, a former Coast Guard keeper at Little River Lighthouse; Dot Black, Executive Director of the Maine Lighthouse Museum, and Paul Dilger, the former captain of the Coast Guard Buoy Tender Abbie Burgess, who is the president of the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine where Harrison also serves as a member of its Board of Directors.

This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2014 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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