We take immense joy in knowing how many people have been inspired here, at the Harbour Town Lighthouse, and in so many ways. Proposals and weddings, inventions and enterprises, life goals and first kisses all found their place to happen here. The view, of course, gets much of the credit for inspiring people at the lighthouse. We think there are other factors, too, and one of them is the very people who are drawn here.
As a magnet for extraordinary people, the Harbour Town Lighthouse stands tall. One example comes to mind especially, as we prepare to help sponsor an October 12 fundraising event titled, Fun with the Fox. It’s a musical and artistic evening, set in the lovely plaza of The Shops at Sea Pines Center, with the proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
The fellow behind the fundraiser is someone we are proud to call friend. Proud also, to have played a part in the unexpected discovery our friend made here at the Lighthouse.
An Unexpected Discovery
Jeff Keefer retired to a beautiful home in Sea Pines at the conclusion of an accomplished career. So far, it is a story we are well accustomed to seeing. In this case, the career was a bit more intrepid than usual, as Jeff had served as chief financial officer of DuPont, a science and innovation company that ranks among the top 25 corporations in the world.
Happily exploring an interest in videography, Jeff became the resource we relied upon, here at the lighthouse, to capture motion pictures of the setting, the views, and the experiences people come here to enjoy. Jeff’s video images were breathtaking. His eye for composition and color were beyond expert, and they were uniquely inspired.
We asked Jeff to be cinematographer for the TV commercials that people enjoy about the lighthouse, and we began to offer videos of his extraordinary visions for people to take home. One day, Lighthouse Keeper Nadia Wagner asked Jeff for a still image from one of his videos to use as a sign for offering them to lighthouse visitors.
What Jeff discovered when he asked one of his videos to hold still was the power that could be conveyed in a photographic image. From that moment, Jeff became a photographer. From that moment, his friends saw Jeff become an artist.
Even though the discovery was unexpected, Jeff wasted no time in putting it to good use. Jeff opened VIVID Gallery in The Shops at Sea Pines Center, and then he expanded it. From the beginning, Jeff donated all the proceeds from the sale of his art photography to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
Another word for discovery is diagnosis. “When I received my own diagnosis, I evaluated a half-dozen organizations. I chose the Michael J. Fox Foundation for my work and support, because they combine the efforts of everybody, to find the cure and close the door, based on science,” Jeff said.
The October 12 Fun with the Fox event is a homegrown example of the many ways the national foundation’s efforts are translated to personal and local experiences. Jeff plans to make it an annual event. The lighthouse is happy to lend a hand and is grateful to have been the setting for one of the discoveries that contributes to the cause – the discovery that our friend, Jeff Keefer, is an artist.