On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves they went out day and night, tirelessly searching for the lost at sea. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous.
Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and gave of their time and money and effort for the support of the work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little lifesaving station grew. Some of the members, however, were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as a first refuge of those saved from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building.
Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely because they then used it as sort of a club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in this club’s decoration, though, and there was a symbolic lifeboat in the room where club initiation were held.
About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in boat-loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, and represented every skin color under the sun. The beautiful club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower built outside the club where victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside. At the next meeting there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities as being unpleasant and hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were called, “Lifesaving Station.” But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked, they could begin their now lifesaving station down the coast. They did!
(SEE PG 3)