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Lighthouses have enduring allure for airman

Brian Margavich developed an affinity for lighthouses 27 years ago, during a trip to St. Simons Island.

Then 5 years old, he had no idea the tower, 104 feet tall, would lead to a lifetime hobby of visiting as many lighthouses as possible.

"It's like a bug being attracted to a light on the porch," said Margavich, now a 32-year-old Air Force sergeant.

To commemorate his first visit and to celebrate Thanksgiving, Margavich, his wife Amanda and 6-year-old daughter Haley now return annually to St. Simons Island to help members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary decorate the top of the island lighthouse for Christmas.

"I had visited the lighthouse dozens of times. When my parents bought a condo here, we started coming for Thanksgiving," Margavich said.

That was nine years ago. Aside from one year when he was deployed and one year when the lighthouse was being restored, the family has pitched in to hang garland, lights and bows from the tower ever since.

"It is just fun," Margavich said.

The St. Simons Island Lighthouse is not the only one the family decorates. They also regularly decorate lighthouses in Pensacola, Fla., and Biloxi, Miss. Both Margavich and his wife, who is also in the Air Force, are stationed at Biloxi.

"I just like lighthouses. No two of them are the same," Brian Margavich said. He has visited 60 around the country.

Having an extra person on hand to complete the decorations was nice for Jeff Cole and Billy Wiggins of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the group that has been maintaining the light and decorating the tower since 1994. "It is good having him here," Cole said.

The group moved with military precision Friday as members communicated with one another via handheld radios from the top of the tower to the ground. Amanda Margavich tied one end of a rope to a box while her husband hoisted the garland and lights all the way to the top.

"We used to carry all this stuff up all 129 stairs," Brian Margavich said. "This is much easier and more efficient."

Distributed by MCT Information Services
 

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