|Posted by Anne Siren on April 4, 2013 at 6:45 AM|
By Phyllis J. Neuberger
How does a newly retired, successful business woman spend her free time in a city she barely knows?
Judy Knoebel seems to have found a perfect answer to making new friends while utilizing her talents. Having spent much of her successful 31-year career with AT&T in New Zealand; Brussels, Belgium; Geneva, Switzerland, and Atlanta, GA., choosing to settle down in Pompano Beach meant starting over in a new world.
“Volunteering was a way to make new friends and get the feeling of really living in the area. It works well for me, and like most volunteers, I receive more than I give.”
The Pelican interviewed Knoebel when she had just returned from the barely opened, Hillsboro Lighthouse Museum where she is the manager. The museum is located at 2700 North Ocean Blvd. in Pompano, in a 400-square-foot space that will display more than 100 years worth of artifacts. There will also be an education room where public programs will be organized. “This is an incredibly exciting time for the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society as we finally found a place that will allow for our continued growth,’’ said society president Art Makenian.
Knoebel says, “We hope to be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. three days each week if and when I succeed in getting enough volunteers to keep it open. Just today I had visitors from here and from Minnesota. We will also open by appointment for group visits and for passport stamping.” She explains that members of the U.S. Lighthouse Association visit lighthouses around the country and like to have their passports stamped as they do so. We will be showcasing historical artifacts, letters, maps, documents and history of the lighthouse, its keepers and its famous lens. I became involved with this preservation group just two years ago when I helped with data entry. Now I’m a dedicated member of the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society.”
As she began her new life, Knoebel’s first volunteer choice was The Bonnett House in Fort Lauderdale, where she has now volunteered for 12 years as a greeter and tour guide.
“As I drive six visitors around in a golf cart type vehicle, they and I enjoy the 37 acres of nature and watching the people and the monkeys,” she says.