~ boards ~


Bright Ariail, Chairman

Bright Ariail has lived on James Island the majority of her life. She attended public schools there and graduated from Ft. Johnson High School where one year she and her horse Tiny were the Trojan mascot. Bright currently lives on Clark Sound, where the Morris Island lighthouse stands between her house and the ocean and is literally in her back yard. She enjoys boating, fishing, scuba diving, and all things water. She is also very involved in animal rescue efforts in South Carolina, particularly those related to labrador retrievers. Bright graduated from Clemson University with an electrical engineering degree in 1981 and worked for Southern Division Naval Facilities Engineering Command for 17 years before attending law school at the University of South Carolina School of Law. She is currently a sole practitioner with her law office on James Island. Bright has loved the lighthouse since a child. She remembers climbing it several times during childhood and recalls that her father Clyde Ariail actually bid on it when it was up for auction in 1965. She looks forward to working to save it for the future and restoring it to its once glorious days when it guided ships into our harbor.

Al Hitchcock

A founding member of Save the Light and one of the original members of the Morris Island Lighthouse Committee, the group founded on James Island to do something about the state of the lighthouse. Now the current Board Chairman and member of the Technical Committee. Lives on James Island, in Sea Side Plantation, where he has a view of the Morris Island Lighthouse, as well as the Sullivan's Island Lighthouse and all of Clark Sound. Married to Nancy Laye Hitchcock, has four grown children and four grandchildren. Former owner of CR Hipp Construction, Inc, 4981 Dorchester Road, North Charleston. Has lived in Charleston since 1980, born and raised in Abbeville, SC, attended Clemson University, graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree. Served in the US Army for four years, an 82nd Airborne Ranger, retired as Captain, moved to Cheraw, SC.  Loves to fish, sail, boat, spend time on Morris Island and tell tales about it all. Will travel to almost any part of the world just to see another lighthouse. Loves the Morris Island lighthouse, the heritage it stands for and thecoast of South Carolina around Charleston.

Richard Beck

Dr. Beck is one of the charter members of Save the Light and has served as either chairman or co-chairman for seven of its nine years. Before coming to Save the Light he had a long and distinguished period of public service with one term as city council member and then two terms as mayor of the City of Folly Beach. In the late seventies and early eighties, Dr Beck spearheaded a seven year effort that successfully placed the blame for the erosion of Morris and Folly Islands on the construction of the Charleston harbor jetties in the late 1890's. That effort paid dividends in the recent construction of Phase I by lowering the local match and freeing up funds that can be used for Phase II. In addition Dr. Beck is practically our staff photographer. Some of his photos are available on our website and he recently had one of his photos of the lighthouse adorn the cover of Charleston magazine. Tirelessly energetic about the preservation of our treasured lighthouse, he never fails to make time to promote our efforts.

Denis Blyth

Denis is a native Charlestonian. He and his wife Marsha Westphal have 3 children and live in Mt. Pleasant. The family shares a love of history, boating, camping, fishing, and Tae Kwon Do. Denis is an Assistant Scoutmaster of BSA Troop 20 and a member of Christ Our King Catholic Church. He is also Vice President of B&C Management Systems and a member of the Rotary Club of North Charleston. Denis believes we should protect our maritime heritage and teach our children about saving things that depict our history. He is Secretary of the board and Chair of the Publicity/Newsletter Committee and also Chair of the Lighthouse Liasion Committee.

Carl Hitchcock

Carl was born in Cheraw, SC, and has lived in Charleston most of his life, except for some time in the Greenville area. A resident of James Island and graduate of the College of Charleston, Carl majored in South Carolina History. With Save The Light, he serves as Chairman of the History/Archives committee and the Website committee, and as a member of the Technical committee. He is involved with all fund raising activities for Save the Light. Married to Jennifer Gottemoeller, of Mount Pleasant, also a graduate of the College of Charleston, they live in Sea Side Plantation. Carl loves to fish, shrimp, boat, sail, swim, beachcomb and just generally hang out around the beaches of Morris Island. Most memorable time in the Lighthouse was in 1995 when he slept in the Lantern room with several others to be awakened early in the morning by a Shrimp boat trawling just past the base of the tower.

Kate Kiel

Kate was born and raised in CT. She attended Nursing School in Newport, RI, where she also met her husband, Tim some 33 years ago. Currently, Kate works as an RN in an outpatient department at a local hospital. Being a Navy wife, she travelled the United States, coast to coast for several years, until settling here in 1993. Now adults, her children, Andrew, works for WRHI Radio in Rock Hill, SC; Patrick works for Crowley Marine as a Merchant Marine Officer. Most of her life has been spent on the coast of various degrees being exposed to Lighthouses-New England to California. She always had an interest in them, toured them, thus growing quite fond of them and their historical significance. It was not until living here and going out to Morris Island a multitude of times, that this Lighthouse became even more significant to her. A few years ago, Kate decided to officially join in the efforts to save Morris Island Lighthouse by becoming a board member. She is passionate, active and has a strong desire to succeed in this endeavor. When Kate is not thinking about her Lighthouses, she is active in the Charleston Community Band, College of Charleston Flute Choir; in addition to coordinating foster and re-homing efforts with English Springer Rescue America.

Barry McLaurin

Barry is a founding member of Save The Light, Inc., and serves as Treasurer and a member of the Management Committee. He is a Certified Public Accountant and has been a partner or employee of Riser, McLaurin & Gibbons, LLP for 50 years, having served 15 years as its managing partner. Barry is a past president (1975) of the SC Association of Certified Public Accountants, and the 1984 recipient of the Association's "Outstanding service to the Accounting Profession" award. He is past chairman (1982) of the South Carolina Board of Accountancy.

Betty O'Brien

Betty Johnson O'Brien is a native of Greer, SC. She is married to John O'Brien and has three children and two grandchildren. Her interest in lighthouses was kindled while living quite a distance from the coast. While residing in Greer, she established an organization that "adopted" the Old Charleston Light and raised a substantial amount to donate to our cause, much to the surprise and delight of the entire Save the Light board. Moving to Charleston in 2006 enabled her to be more active with Save the Light. She now serves
as chairwoman of Capital Campaign for Phase II.
Betty is an avid genealogist. She has published one book and is working on a second, 'Journey of the Johnsons.' Among her many involvements, she is a member of the DAR, Colonial Dames XVII Century, and the Henderson County, NC Genealogical & Historical Society. She is a trustee for the Johnson Family's Church and Cemetery.

Jerry Smeltzer

He was born a child.
Grew up in the North. Pennsylvania area.
Was a Marine. Always a Marine. Oorah!
He was married. Not now.
Lives on the creek. Likes beer.
Smiles a lot, makes you wonder what he's up to.
Loves the Lighthouse.
Glad to be a part of saving it.

Fred Wichmann, Emeritus

Fred's interest in lighthouses began in 1930 with his birth at Cape Romain Lighthouse where his father had been Keeper for 21 years. This naturally led to a lifelong love of lighthouses, boats, and the water. Fred is a Founding Member of Save the Light and has been an advocate for maritime and historic preservation in and around the Lowcountry. For several years, he generously donated space at his real estate company for the Save the Light office, until it was moved to Folly Beach. His favorite leisure activity is, of course, "simply messing about in boats."

Lynn West

Lynn is a native Charlestonian who grew up on James Island. She attended Fort Johnson High School and graduated from Clemson University. She recently retired from the Medical University of South Carolina where she was involved in clinical research for over 24 years. Her hobbies include motorcycle riding, hiking, kayaking, biking and spending time at Folly Beach. Now that she is retired, Lynn is able to devote time to additional volunteer interests which include the Morris Island Lighthouse and the Animal Forest at Charles Towne Landing. She is excited to have the opportunity to be part of this significant effort to restore the Lighthouse for future generations.

Patrick Kiel

Jennifer McQuilken

John Tomlinson

Joyce Wichmann


Rob Turkewitz, Chairman
Tracie Royals Beatty
Jim Booth
Colby Broadwater, III
Carol Goldberg Garfield
Tim Goodwin
Jimmy Hadden
Jennifer Hitchcock
Jenny Costa Honeycutt
Harry Huge
Peter McCoy
Barry McLaurin
Robert New
Chris Noland
Anne Peterson
Rick Stringer
Bill Woolsey