Fort Casey celebrating lighthouse, volunteers Saturday

Volunteer Dick Malone of Oak Harbor stands on the grounds of Fort Casey State Park in February. Malone, who provides guided tours of the former World War I-era army post and is a docent at Admiralty Head Lighthouse, was named ‘Volunteer of the Year’ by Washington State Parks. 2017 File Photo/Whidbey News-Times

Fort Casey State Park is inviting the public to celebrate Admiralty Head Lighthouse and the volunteers who support it Saturday with a day of festivities and fun.

The event, running 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., is being held in conjunction with National Lighthouse Day. It will include the Navy Brass Quintet, Cornucopia Band, children’s crafts as well as special speakers from the Coast Guard.

And for guests who get hungry, Tailgate BBQ will be offering a bite to eat.

The event will also highlight the work being done by volunteers and honor two particular volunteers, said Sharon Young-Hale, program specialist for the park.

Longtime volunteer Dick Malone will be honored for his years of service and for recently being named Volunteer of the Year by Washington State Parks.

For nearly 20 years, Malone, a retired Marine Corps reservist and educator, has served as a volunteer at Fort Casey State Park, providing tours, welcoming visitors and leading restoration projects behind the scenes.

As a volunteer member for two Fort Casey groups — the Fort Casey Volunteer Battalion, which provides guided tours, and the Admiralty Head Lighthouse docents, who greet and educate lighthouse visitors — he’s still going strong in his mid-80s.

He’s been instrumental in several restoration projects at the park, including replacement of the lantern house at the lighthouse in 2012.

Students from all three of Whidbey Island’s public high schools, Archie Nichols of Nichols Brothers Boat Builders and volunteers worked together over two years to complete that project.

He’s been involved as a technical consultant in a capital project by the state at Fort Casey in which interpretative panels are being made and extensive restoration work is taking place in the fort’s plotting room.

At the event, Bill French will also be honored. French was instrumental in getting a 1880s Fresnel lens rotating this year after it sat stationary for 14 years.

The Fresnel lens is a type of compact lens originally developed for lighthouses by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel. A Fresnel lens can capture more oblique light from a light source, allowing it to be visible over greater distances.

Admiralty Head lighthouse has two Fourth-Order Fresnel lenses on display — one fixed and the other now-rotating lens, which is on display now and visitors can check it out Saturday during the event.

National Lighthouse Day is free and open to the public. However, a Discover Pass is required in the park.

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