On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks occurred there was a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, with only one boat, but the few members kept a constant watch over the sea. With no thought for themselves, they went out day or night searching for the lost.
Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so it became famous. Some of those who were saved wanted to become associated with the station and give their time and money and effort to support the work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The station grew. Some of the new members were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge for those saved from the sea.
They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in a bigger building. Now, the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members. So they redecorated it and furnished it as a sort of club. Not so many members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions. They hired life boat crews to do this work. The mission of life-saving was still given lip-service but most were too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the life-saving activities.
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, spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was messed up. So they immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims 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 life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal life of the club.
But some members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the strange people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did.
As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded.
If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, only now…most of the people drown.