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Lewes, Delaware
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July 3, 1998     Cape Gazette
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July 3, 1998

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100 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, July 3 - July 9, 1998 Life returns to Indian River Lifesaving Station at grand opening A preview party was held Friday, June 26, at the newly- restored Indian River Life- saving Station to celebrate the grand opening, which was held the following day. The Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation be- gan a capital campaign in January with a goal of $500,000, titled "Bringing Life Back to the Station." Donations have been used strictly for renovation and construction of the buildings at the site. The station was built in 1876 and cost an estimated $2,400. It was decommis- sioned in 1962 after the Great Storm. Today it is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been preserved as a museum and maritime edu- cational facility. For more information or to make a contribution to the campaign, contact Charity Shankle, executive director of the foundation, at 227- 0478, or send contributions to PO Box Z, Bethany Beach DE 19930. Milton Cooper, left, the last living commander of the Indian River Coast Guard Station, pos- es with Vera and Eugene Kontul of Newark. Eugene served under Cooper for three years and spoke of the great family unity and togetherness they all felt during that time. With a crew of 12, they were called out for an average of 100 saves a year. Above, December and John Hughes of Rehoboth Beach are seen during the party. Hughes, director of the state Division of Soil and Water Conservation, remembers when he used the old compound as his office for 15 years. One memory that was especially clear was wading through waste-deep water to turn off the power one day during a storm. He watched every utility pole from Dewey Beach to the inlet snap off during the siege. Dr. Bob Roberts and wife, Sandra, right, origi- nally from West Virginia and now of Rehoboth Beach, watch Ellen Rice, the DSPF Artist of the Year, sign a limited edition print of her painting of the lifesaving station, titled "Last Watch," while her assistant, Judy White, looks on. Above, right, among those gathered at the party on June 26 are (lr) Evelyn Thoroughgood, Ruby Wilson and Lyn Webster, all of Rehoboth Beach. Above, Clinton Bunting, left, chairman of the Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation, stands with Chet Kaser, project manager, during the opening party, just before a fierce thunder- storm moved in to scatter the crowds. At left, one of the exhibits in the museum shows the uniforms and gear they used when the station was active. The long oars bring home the hard work expected of the men stationed there.