Feeling Maine's Glow
James Audiffred was nutty over lighthouses. And not just any lighthouse. Again and again, he was drawn to the lighthouses of Maine. He studied their history and their architecture. In July, he packed his wife, his son and his sister-in- law's family into a rented minivan and took them to see the Cape Elizabeth Light, a majestic 67-foot lighthouse south of Portland. With childlike delight, he made everybody pose for pictures.
"My sister's oldest thought it was a little boring, but he didn't care," Robin Audiffred said of her husband. "He was having a ball."
The other day, Mrs. Audiffred received a check for $12,313 from Dennett's Wharf, a lobster restaurant in Castine, Me. The owners, Carolyn and Gary Brouillard, have been collecting dollars from customers for 11 years. Each time someone asked how they ended up with so much money taped to the ceiling, Mr. Brouillard would reply, "All you need to do is give me a dollar and I'll be more than happy to show you."
Carolyn Brouillard decided the money should go to a victim who was not in the limelight. On the Internet, she read a posting about Mr. Audiffred, 38, a World Trade Center elevator operator from Brooklyn who took tourists up to Windows of the World.
They had no idea that Mr. Audiffred was in love with Maine lighthouses ‹ not to mention Maine lobsters.
"A total surprise," Mr. Brouillard said. "A total surprise."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 17, 2001.