Curtis Island Light Station, located at the head of Camden Harbor, is one of the crown jewels of Midcoast Maine, but like all historic sites located in close proximity to the sea, it requires constant maintenance to keep it looking its best.

Lending a helping hand recently with maintaining the “shine” of this community treasure were volunteers from the Rockland-based U.S. Coast Guard units of cutter Tackle, Station Rockland and cutter Abbie Burgess.

Connie and Dee Conover, the island’s 30-year caretakers for the town of Camden, along with their son, David Conover, worked closely with Coast Guard volunteers earlier this year to plan the project that included scraping, priming and repainting the 1889 wooden keeper’s dwelling, which is a well known, distinctive feature of the light station property.

Coast Guard volunteers wrapped up this repainting project just before Camden’s Windjammer event during the Labor Day holiday.

“Over the years, we’ve always been able to find a few community volunteers to help with the big chores like painting the keeper’s house, which needs tending every few years,” said David Conover. “This year the team of Coast Guard volunteers were incredible. I saw both veterans and new recruits involved in this effort and it is clear that they have an ongoing commitment to this part of the nation’s maritime heritage — literally beyond the call of duty.”

Conover concluded, “Not only does the island see a lot of visitors, the light station is also one of Camden’s most frequently reproduced images, so the impact of the Coast Guard volunteers is very visible. It is really great what they have done during a summer that’s been super busy for them.”

The Coast Guard’s 2010 volunteer work at Curtis Island not only helped in the ongoing care of the historic light station, it also made a connection to the organization’s longstanding traditions at the island as well.

U.S. Coast Guard light keepers resided and kept the light burning bright at Curtis Island from 1939 to 1972, when the station was automated. Today, the Coast Guard cutter Tackle, under the command of Chief Boatswain’s Mate Jesse M. Deery, officer-in-charge, serves as the keeper of the navigational light at Curtis Island Lighthouse. The island and historic light station buildings are owned and cared for by the town of Camden.

“Although the Coast Guard only has responsibility for the inner workings of the light,” said BMC Deery, “assisting with the painting of the keepers quarters was an opportunity to help preserve our lighthouse service history and continue our tradition of serving within the community.”

BMC Deery went on to note, “My crew has been spending many long days on the preservation of cutter Tackle while she is dry-docked at Rockland Marine. They continue to make me proud in demonstrating their commitment to the community in which we live by volunteering further service during a very busy time for our unit. The support of volunteers from Station Rockland was critical in ensuring that we did not fall behind in schedule. The dedication of all involved is with the greater good in mind and is in keeping with the Coast Guardsman’s Creed of doing more, rather than less than their share.”

Writer Samuel Adams Drake noted in his 1891 classic – “The Pine Tree Coast,” that “Camden Harbor is finely locked in between two jutting points of land, one high, the other low, with a pretty little wooded island deftly dropped in at the entrance.”

Thanks to a team effort this year between the town of Camden, the Conover family and U.S. Coast Guard volunteers, the light station that is nestled within this beautiful wooded island described so aptly by Drake continues to serve as a source of great pride for Midcoast Maine and its maritime heritage.

Roberta Smith, Camden Town Manager, captured the essence of the project and the volunteerism associated with it, saying, “My thanks and appreciation on behalf of the town of Camden for the Coast Guard’s efforts on this season’s much-needed painting project, and for the dedication of the Conover family to the preservation of Curtis Island. The island and its historic structures are a gem, as is the community spirit that works together to preserve it.”

U.S. Coast Guard volunteers who helped repaint the keeper’s house at Curtis Island Light Station in summer 2010 included: Megan Dupuis, Crystal Elkie, Anna Gabbert, Warren Gardner, Tyler Heanssler, Stephen Leavitt, Anthony McCabe, Donovan McClean, Ken McSherry, Drew Pelletier, Eugene Peters, Erin Schmitt and Bob Trapani, Jr.