Glengarry Lighthouse, guiding others toward the light

Amos Johnson
By Amos Johnson January 26, 2018 12:41

Hughie Carpenter outside of the Glengarry Lighthouse unit in the courtyard at Wheelton Manor on 333 Glengarry Ave. (Photo by Amos Johnson).

By Amos Johnson

A lighthouse warns ships at sea and guides them, often during a storm or in a time of darkness.

The Glengarry Lighthouse, located off the courtyard at Wheelton Manor on 333 Glengarry Ave. is similar, guiding others away from the darkness and into the light. The lighthouse acts as a safe place for people who grew up without any guidance or have not been taught basic life skills.

In the beginning, the lighthouse would serve coffee and cookies, later going on to supply breakfast and lunch, as well as dinners on Wednesdays at Chateau Mason, with help from the city. The City of Windsor has also provided a pantry for the lighthouse, as well as extra storage for sports equipment, like volleyball nets and tennis gear.

Hughie Carpenter, 52, is a peer support worker for the lighthouse and an ex-con who has seen his share of biker gangs, drugs and prostitution. He lives on the property and is a shining example in the community.

“My story and my testimony to them is an encouragement that they can do it. There’s a way out,” said Carpenter.

“Together as a partner, as a friend, as a brother, as a father, whatever you see me as, I’ll stand beside you and we’ll get through this together.”

There are situations where Carpenter is forced to kick someone out of the house, such as drug dealers or other people creating a disturbance, but he does this in a calm manner.

“I don’t have to yell or scream or rant and rave. I don’t have to call them names. They don’t want the confrontation; mention the police once and they’ll run. What you do in your own home is up to you, what you bring into the hallways is my problem,” said Carpenter.

“There’s people you have to call the police on, on a regular basis. I’ve chased people in and out of the building. I’ve ran around the Glengarry complex with the police department trying to find one guy.”

The lighthouse can support people who are ready to move towards a positive change in their lives, whether they need help with filing their taxes or finding employment. Carpenter helps his community by helping them through their fears; everything necessary to leading them down a better path.

“When your character’s being insulted, how do you respond to that? You can’t respond in hate. You can’t respond in anger, you’ve just got to continue to smile [and] let them wear it. So they see a light there, because if I was angry and hateful because he said that [something hateful], that’s not light…that’s dark, just like them,” said Carpenter.

“We love them anyway. We love those who come against us and we see it…we see the regret in their eyes for the things they’ve said.”

Carpenter started his path to recovery through another community house project of the Downtown Windsor Community Collaborative, where they took in guests consisting of homeless people, ex-cons, recovering addicts and anyone else in need of a safe place.

After living in the house for a year, Carpenter discovered Christianity and continued his path towards a positive and sober life.

“He transitioned from an instability like near-homelessness; living just from place to place. Caught the bug for what the Collaborative is doing and was willing to move in and do peer support work and living inside Glengarry,” said Bob Cameron, executive director for the dwcc.

“People who have gotten involved with the light house, gotten involved with community efforts that are out there [and] have found a better quality of life that’s a lot more filling than being with the dope,” said Carpenter.

Amos Johnson
By Amos Johnson January 26, 2018 12:41

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CAPSTONE PROJECTS 2017-2018