Fairfield Couple Wins Lighthouse Getaway

The DeSanctis Family

A Fairfield couple is really beaming these days.

Their incandescent smiles are the happy result of an interest in preserving historic lighthouses, including Penfield Light off Fairfield's shoreline. And a stroke of luck.

Chris and Deneen DeSanctis expect to spend a memorable weekend in a Maine lighthouse next summer as winners of a raffle sponsored Beacon Preservation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of lighthouses -- including Penfield Light, which it has overseen for the last two years.

DeSanctis, an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University, and his wife will spend a July weekend at Goose Rocks Light, a lighthouse managed by Beacon Preservation in Penobscot Bay off North Haven, Maine.

They will be treated to the sea sojourn as winners of Beacon's Lighthouse Keepers' Experience raffle -- a ticket actually purchased by DeSanctis' father in-law at Captain's Cove Seaport in Black Rock.

"Beacon Preservation is doing a tremendous service by preserving lighthouses for future generations to appreciate," DeSanctis said.

"Lighthouses were used to guide ships along the waterways of the world. Any history enthusiast should appreciate and support the work of Beacon Preservation to preserve these important symbols of maritime history."

Beacon Preservation, through its educational programs, such as Green Light Academy and the Lighthouse Keeper Stays at Goose Rocks, aims to promote the preservation of the off-shore icons, according to Casey Jordan, president of Beacon Preservation.

"Goose Rocks Lighthouse is the only off-shore lighthouse on the Eastern seaboard that you can actually stay in," Jordan said. "The keeper's stay is a truly unique experience, extremely romantic and exhilarating. We knew that raffling off the two peak summer holiday weekends at Goose Rocks was the best way we could raise money for our scholarship fund for Green Light Academy.

"By buying raffle tickets, supporters help local high school kids enjoy our month-long summer environmental education program while also supporting lighthouse preservation," he added.

The DeSanctis' winning raffle ticket was randomly pulled from the hopper by Green Light Academy student Jeanine Strother, and Jordan made the call to DeSanctis to inform him that he had won -- the same day that Deneen DeSanctis gave birth to the couple's new daughter.

DeSanctis said that he is particularly pleased to have won because, as an educator himself, he is impressed that the academy students study the history, math, science and technology needed to help restore and preserve Beacon's lighthouses.

When Jordan joked that he had better bring his in-laws along on the getaway, he said, "Are you kidding? No way! That's for me and my wife! I think we deserve a romantic holiday weekend, especially with the new baby."

"But then who will watch your kids when you come to Maine?" Jordan asked.

"My in-laws, of course," responded DeSanctis. "That's why they can't come!"

While the raffle was initially intended for this July 4 weekend, the birth of the DeSanctis' daughter prompted them to ask for a rain-check, and Jordan agreed to let them postpone their trip until July 2011.

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