Boy Scout Ronnie Carrillo earned the rank of Eagle Scout by installing a solar-powered-lighting system around the perimeter of the base of the Huntington Lighthouse. NewsdayTV's Virginia Huie reports. Credit: Randee Daddona; File Footage; Photo Credit: Jenn Carrillo, Ronnie Carrillo

The Huntington Lighthouse has always fascinated Ronnie Carrillo.

As a young child, the Huntington resident, 17, said he was obsessed with lighthouses, filling with excitement on family trips to Fire Island when its lighthouse would finally come into view.

But Carrillo's favorite has always been the handsome Venetian-Renaissance style structure that sits in Huntington Harbor.

Numerous summer trips to the lighthouse — owned by the nonprofit Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society — with his mother and brother led volunteers to nickname Carrillo The Lighthouse Kid because he was there so often and knowledgeable about its history.

"I've always had an obsession with lighthouses,” he said.

That obsession, coupled with a love for scouting, translated into Carrillo reaching the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America on May 3, an Eagle Scout.

"I've always had an obsession with lighthouses," said Ronnie Carrillo,...

"I've always had an obsession with lighthouses," said Ronnie Carrillo, now 17, and shown in a family photo as a child. Credit: Carrillo family photo

To attain this rank, a candidate must conceive, design, manage and install a service project for the benefit of a community or nonprofit.

His idea was to install a solar-powered lighting system around the perimeter of the base of the lighthouse to better illuminate the nearly 50-foot structure.

“The project’s main goal was to make the lighthouse a more beautiful site,” said Carrillo, a St. Anthony’s High School junior, and since fifth grade, a member of Troop 12 in Huntington.

“I believe that goal was entirely accomplished when you look out on the horizon on a clear night, even a not-so-clear night, you can see the lighthouse beaming over the horizon in a way it hadn’t in many years,” the newly minted Eagle Scout said.

The lighthouse, built in 1912, was added to the National Register for Historic Buildings in 1989. The preservation society was granted ownership in 2012.

In July 2016, similar lighting was removed from the lighthouse when work on the structure's foundation began, said Pamela Setchell, president of the preservation society.

For two years, Carillo worked on his lighthouse idea with troop leaders, members of the preservation society and other volunteers. He said it was a very complicated process, mostly because of the project's electrical component and its location, surrounded on all sides by water.

Finally in October, after all the meetings, at least 15 trips by boat to the lighthouse and a three-day installation process using dozens of volunteers, the lights were flipped on, and his project was complete. The project installed four LED 650 lumens spotlights, with daylight sensors that turn the lights on when the sun goes down.

Oliver Bodine is a volunteer with the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society who designed a solar system and electrical wiring system that helps power the 112-year-old structure. He said at first there was skepticism about the project because of the complications connected to electrical wiring in a marine environment and the would-be Eagle Scout's limited experience.

But after some early conversations with Carrillo, whom Bodine said showed great maturity and vision, any doubts faded.

“The project came out way beyond expectations,” said Bodine, who guided Carrillo throughout the endeavor.

Carrillo said he will continue to work toward merit badges until he turns 18 in March, when he ages out of the youth scouting ranks. But he has another task before him — to help others reach the rank of Eagle Scout.

“It’s the way scouting works, the knowledge has to be passed down,” he said.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

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