PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH LIFEGUARD FACEBOOK PAGE
The Wrightsville Beach lifeguards in 1975. — Simon Gonzalez
S H O R T S H O R T S • •
J LIFEGUARD REUNION IM ARNOLD AND GEORGE ERKES are comparing their time as Wrightsville Beach lifeguards in the ‘70s to the Wrightsville
Beach Ocean Rescue squad of today.
Erkes points out they didn’t have the same level of equipment.
“We had one Jeep, and we were lucky if it ran,” he says.
They were under the police department back then and “walked patrols,” Erkes says. WBOR is now under the fire department. Arnold
says there is an advanced level of training as first-responders
these days, but Erkes defends the old guys, saying their Red
Cross certifications prepared them to practice first aid.
The exchange is good-natured, with plenty of grins, chuckles
and just possibly exaggerations. It’s a mini-preview of what will
happen when the lifeguards get together for a reunion at the
Wrightsville Beach Museum of History on Sept. 16.
“It’ll be a great time of reminiscing and catching up with
what people are doing,” Arnold says.
They also will be dedicating the stand at the museum as a
memorial, with a plaque bearing the names of lifeguards who
“It is a tribute to those who have been responsible for
ensuring public safety on the beach strand,” says Skipper
Funderburg, executive vice president of the museum.
LOCAL SCHURCH ADDED TO NATIONAL REGISTER TS. PETER AND PAUL RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, an 85-year-old sanctuary in rural Pender County, in a community
founded by Wilmington magnate Hugh MacRae (see “Saving the Sanctuary” in the April 2014 Wrightsville Beach
Magazine), was added to the National Register of
Historic Places in July.
The building’s design combines traditional American church forms,
including red brick walls and round-arched windows, with Russian
Orthodox features including a gold metal onion dome and Orthodox
crosses crowning the front and rear gables.
The church was established in rural St. Helena by Ukrainian farm-ing
families, enticed to the area by MacRae’s offer of 10 acres and
a three-room cottage for $240. MacRae donated 10 acres for the
church, which was completed in 1932.
The once-thriving congregation dwindled over the years. The
church now only has three regular attendees, and there hasn’t been a
priest since 1988.
The National Register of Historic Places designation should help
preserve the building, even if it doesn’t add congregants.
“These kinds of designations are usually a mixed blessing,” says
church official Fr. Hans Jacobs. “The church gets better known but
not in any way that encourages growth.” — Simon Gonzalez
Sts. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church in Pender