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  • Writer's pictureChristina Grosshans

SPY's Newsletter 5/1/21

The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil 1861-1865 Helen M Edwins Tent #30 Sunfield have decided not to host their traditional Memorial Day Service for 2021, due to the rise in COVID-19. We are again planning to provide a self-guided tour of the Sunfield Cemetery. This will be available Memorial Day weekend, May 28th thru June 1st from dawn to dusk. Everyone is welcome to attend. We will again have a soloist, Cynthia Shettler playing taps on May 31st. Any Questions, please contact Rosie Best (517) 331-0836.

Second Call !

Did you know that Sunfield has a Veterans Honor Board? It is located in front of the GAR Hall, (the white building with the canons in front), in downtown Sunfield. It is maintained by the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (the DUV).

The Daughters are again updating the board and are requesting anyone who wants a name added of a veteran from the Sunfield area to let them know. The cost for the special plate is $45.

Anyone interested, please contact Rosie Best at 517-331-0836---or by mail at PO Box 152, Sunfield, MI 48890.

Please include what branch of the service---and years of service.

Next SPY Meeting

The next meeting of the Sunfield Area Sponsors of Programs for Youth (the SPY’s) will take place this coming Tuesday,May 11th. starting at 7 PM. It will once again be held at the Best Tax Service office, which is located just west of the blinker light on M-43 in Sunfield. Guests are always welcome.

Yellow Hearts For Veterans

Benefit Dinner Follow-Up

The Yellow Hearts for Veterans Benefit Spaghetti dinner fundraiser went really well! There was a nice turn out. There were many compliments on the food, as well as how important it is to have the Yellow Hearts for Veterans program in our area. The community was very supportive.

The program has began weekly meetings. They are being held every Tuesday at 6:30pm, at the Sunfield Community Rooms. The sessions are open to all Veterans. For further information, please contact Sara Knight at 269-876-6489


· Sharon Davis made a donation in support of the Sunfield Summer Athletic Association.

Parting Comments

• Deep Thought of the Week: You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.

• Notable Quote: “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.”---Socrates

• That’s Puny Department: I used to date a girl with one leg who worked at a brewery. She was in charge of the hops.

• Did You Know Section? The other day, when I was doing my daily crossword puzzle, I had a clue that said, “Lighthouse keeper Lewis who saved many lives.” When the answer turned out to be a woman I was intrigued. So, I looked her up. It turned out she was quite a woman.

Ida Lewis was the daughter of Captain Hosea Lewis of Rhode Island. Her father was in the Lighthouse Service and appointed keeper of Lime Rock Light on in 1854. After the family had been at Lime Rock for less than four months, he suffered a stroke and became disabled. Ida Lewis expanded her domestic duties to include caring for him and a seriously ill sister and also, with her mother's assistance, tending the light.

Since Lime Rock was almost completely surrounded by water, the only way to reach the mainland was by boat. By age 15, Lewis had become known as the best swimmer in Newport. She rowed her younger siblings to school every weekday and fetched supplies from town as they were needed. She became very skillful at handling her heavy rowboat.

Lewis made her first rescue in 1854, coming to the assistance of four men whose boat had capsized. She was just 12 years old.

Her most famous rescue occurred on March 29, 1869. Two soldiers, were passing through Newport Harbor toward Fort Adams in a small boat, guided by a 14-year-old boy who claimed to know his way through the harbor. A snowstorm was churning the harbor's waters, and the boat overturned. The two soldiers clung to it while the boy was lost, dying in the icy water. Lewis's mother saw the two in the water and called to Ida, who was suffering from a cold. Ida ran to her boat without taking the time to put on a coat or shoes. With the help of her younger brother, she was able to haul the two men into her boat and bring them to the lighthouse.

On July 16, 1881, she was awarded the rare Gold Lifesaving Medal from the United States government – the first woman to receive it – for her rescue on February 4, 1881, of two soldiers who had fallen through the ice.

Ida received the official appointment as keeper in 1879, largely through the efforts of an admirer, General Ambrose Everett Burnside, a Civil War hero who became a Rhode Island governor and United States senator. With a salary of $750 per year, Lewis was for a time the highest-paid lighthouse keeper in the nation. The extra pay was given "in consideration of the remarkable services in the saving of lives".

Because of her many rescues, Lewis became the best-known lighthouse keeper of her day. During her 54 years on Lime Rock she is credited with saving 18 lives, although unofficial reports suggest the number may have been as high as 25.

During her lifetime, Lewis was called "the Bravest Woman in America" and her exploits were detailed in the national press and prompted a meeting with President Ulysses S. Grant,

Her father used to amuse himself by counting the people who came to the island to see Ida: there were often a hundred a day, and in one summer, there were 9,000.

Lewis made her last recorded rescue when she was 63.

In 1924 the Rhode Island legislature officially changed the name of Lime Rock to Ida Lewis Rock. The lighthouse service changed the name of the Lime Rock Lighthouse to the Ida Lewis Rock Lighthouse – the only such honor ever paid to a keeper in the United States.

In 1995, the United States Coast Guard named the first of a new class of buoy tenders for Ida Lewis.

In 2018, Ida Lewis became the first woman to have a road named after her at Arlington National Cemetery; the road is called Lewis Drive.

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