Category Archives: Spotlight

Spotlight: Rob Campbell

Rob Campbell

The previous spotlight shined a light on Betty McGaha, who spent 5 days in 2019 clearing the rifle pit.

The pandemic caused a delay in many of our activities at the rifle range. On the one hand, this allowed us to complete our goal of publishing a book about the quest to restore the rifle range, including the enormous amount of research compiled about the Brunswick County WWI veterans.

But with no major cleanup on the rifle pit, the leaves, dirt, and other debris continued to accumulate. Weeds also grow quickly inside and outside the pit.

Enter Rob Campbell, new resident. Rob enjoys working outside and was intrigued by the history of the rifle range. Upon learning about the World War I structure in his new neighborhood, he immediately offered to do whatever was needed to maintain the historical relic.

We asked Rob to share his thoughts about the importance of preserving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and designated an official World War I Centennial Memorial.

“I have a natural curiosity for history and historical sites. My wife and I toured Ft. Caswell and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about those structures and what life must have been like for those who served and were stationed there.

“When I learned about the group helping to preserve the Rifle Range, I volunteered to help due to my personal appreciation for the beauty and the history of this area, as well as the thought that this may well have been a last ‘happy place’ for many soldiers, considering they may have never seen a beach before.

“As fortunate as I am to realize the beauty of this area, daily, I wanted to honor them in helping to preserve the area that, hopefully, they saw as beautiful in an otherwise tragic time.”

Well said, Rob!

We thank Rob Campbell for his cleanup effort and interest in the Fort Caswell Rifle Range!

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Spotlight: Betty McGaha

Betty McGaha

Maintaining the inside of the rifle pit requires constant work throughout the year. Leaves fall in the spring and fall, compacting into wet and heavy loads. Trees and branches fall as a result of hurricanes or strong winds that are typical along the coast. Heavy rain brings both water and dirt. The Stabilization tab at the top of the website includes a journal that shows the work that’s been required through the years.

Three years ago in 2018, local Boy Scouts volunteered their time to clear the pit.

Nearly two years ago, in December 2019, Betty McGaha stepped up and offered her time to shovel the heavy debris. Betty spent five days of hard work inside the rifle pit. The west end of the pit was completely cleared, as shown here. She also worked at the entrance, which had accumulated a lot of heavy debris.

Betty has two brigadier generals in her family – her husband (retired) and her daughter. She strongly supports the preservation of this unique World War I structure.

We thank Betty McGaha for her labor and continuous support of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range! The financial support that Betty and her husband Doyle have provided through the years is also very much appreciated.

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Spotlight: Carl Mauney

Carl Mauney

Carl Mauney, a World War I reenactor, made a welcome appearance April 8, 2017, when the Brunswick Town Chapter NSDAR along with the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range held the Commemoration of the Centennial date the United States entered World War I: April 6, 1917. The event was the first commemoration held at the site of the 1918 World War I Rifle Range located in Caswell Beach. Read several stories linked from here.

Carl was outfitted with a full World War I reproduction woolen uniform, including gas mask and rifle. He demonstrated how the rifle worked and explained that rifle ranges like the Fort Caswell rifle range placed the line of fire 300 yards away because the rifles could not consistently hit targets at longer distances.

Carl modeled his gas mask, showing how difficult it is to breathe or even hear. This is similar to the experiences of veterans described in a recent WWI Profile post.

Carl also made a guest appearance at the 2017 Derby Day fundraiser, an annual event to raise funds for continued stabilization of the rifle range. After each race he read an excerpt about a WW I soldier from the WWI Wall of Honor.

Carl Mauney became a permanent fixture at the Friends of Ft Caswell Rifle Range when his profile was used for the WWI Centennial logo.

We thank Carl Mauney for contributing his time, knowledge, enthusiasm for WWI, and his silhouette!

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Spotlight: Gregory Kleva

Gregory Kleva

Attorney Gregory Kleva offered pro bono assistance to begin the process of forming a non-profit organization dedicated to stabilizing the rifle range. The work he completed with the NC Department of the Secretary of State and the filing fee he paid enabled us to complete the subsequent paperwork with the IRS in 2015 to achieve 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

Greg practices law at Geddings & Kleva, PLLC Attorneys at Law on Oak Island. Read more about Greg at

We thank Gregory Kleva for his valuable legal assistance and generosity!

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Spotlight: Bo and Sydney Grove

Bo and Sydney Grove

Bo and Sydney Grove have been tireless supporters of the stabilization of the rifle range since 2011. They volunteered at the Kentucky Derby fundraisers, contributed all of their winnings, contributed more, donated the sign in the photo above, and continue to contribute while no longer living in the Caswell Dunes community. Their “Can Do” attitude formed a strong foundation of support instrumental in the forward progress made.

Read Bo and Sydney’s own words expressing why they feel such a connection to the Fort Caswell Rifle Range:

“Our interest in the rifle butts is twofold. We spent a career — 32 years — in the Air Force. So we both have a general interest in military things. But the real driving force behind our interest was Sidney’s father, Lt Col Joseph J Tavern, a career marine who was killed during World War II in an airplane accident. He was a marksman of some renown. His last assignment before his death was as the commander of the Rifle Range at Parris Island. With that background, we couldn’t help being interested in doing something with the rifle butts at Caswell Dunes.”

We are fortunate to have your involvement, Bo and Sidney, and thank you most heartily!

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Spotlight: Helen Radcliffe

Helen Radcliffe

Local artist Helen Radcliffe, shown here in her Kentucky Derby apparel, dedicated many hours planning and finding the best views of the rifle range, and finally selected the photograph to produce this beautiful watercolor painting of the rifle pit.

The original painting is displayed on the wall in the Caswell Dunes Clubhouse.

The image was used to create mouse pads, magnets, note cards, and prints which have been sold to raise funds for the stabilization project. Helen received no compensation for her efforts.

In addition, Helen has spent many hours pursuing donations from local businesses for items and services to offer in the silent auction at the Kentucky Derby Day fundraiser. She also manages the silent auction event. For two years, she offered a silent auction item – to the winning bidder, an original painting of their home.

A former art teacher at The Children’s Home in Winston-Salem and Curator of Education at Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Helen now shares her talent with the community. Her artwork featuring the Oak Island Lighthouse is currently displayed in Caswell Beach Town Hall.

Thank you, Helen, for the gift of this everlasting image to our community!

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Spotlight: Marti Hardy

Marti Hardy

Local artist and Caswell Beach Commissioner Marti Hardy created and donated a total of four striking stained glass and mosaic art pieces for past Kentucky Derby fundraisers.

The first two are pictured below.

Marti is holding Beach Parade, a table display of swimming fish mounted on driftwood that Marti discovered on Caswell Beach, while Joan Van Noordt is holding Bunker Serenity, an abstract piece depicting the rifle range and surrounding landscape.

The remaining two, created and donated the following year, include At Peace with Nature, a stained glass design showing part of the rifle range wall surrounded by trees with a squirrel resting on the wall, and a red-headed woodpecker on the side of a tree. The scene is drastically different from what the area might have looked like almost 100 years ago, surrounded by the military engaged in marksmanship, noise everywhere. Marti chose a serene setting for her work, keeping the focus on history, showing the peacefulness of the area by including animals in their habitat.

Her focus for the mosaic is The Yellow Belly Fish of Caswell Beach. It has a yellow belly and is surrounded by seaweed as it floats through the water. The fish has an orange tail with neutral colored fins and gills.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range earned $600 through Marti’s stained glass pieces.

Thank you, Marti, for these gorgeous treasures!

To read more details on the stained glass piece and auction, see newspaper articles:

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Spotlight: Mark Bachara

Mark Bachara

Attorney Mark Bachara completed pro bono legal work enabling the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range to move forward with non-profit status. This is just one of many community-centered causes Mark supports through his involvement with the very active Southport Rotary to serving on non-profit boards. He has even been spotted belting out showtunes at various local venues.

Mark practices law with the firm Bachara & Essey, Attorneys at Law, on Oak Island. Read more about Mark Bachara at

Thank you, Mark, for donating your legal expertise to our cause!

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Spotlight: Jim McKee

Jim McKee

Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Site Manager Jim McKee (formerly the Historical Interpreter at that site) began working with the Caswell Dunes volunteer Landscape/Grounds Committee in 2011 when we needed advice on what this structure actually was and what to do with it.

After the first visit, Jim brought the NC State Historic Preservation Office staff and others to the site to identify the WW I structure. Jim continued to donate hours of work on his day off from his position at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson to assist us clearing years of soil from the bottom of the pit.

Recently he supported engineers Paul Shivers and Brian Ross by being on site when they were identifying trees that compromised the passageway wall. Jim continues to stay in touch with the Friends by suggesting ways the World War I Centennial may be approached.

Thank you, Jim, for six years of guidance!

Check out Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson’s Facebook page.

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Spotlight: Paul R. Shivers, PE

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range would like to shine a spotlight on our valuable volunteers, supporters, and cheerleaders. Our first spotlight is shining on

Paul R. Shivers, PE

Paul R. Shivers, PE, a Project Manager with Highfill Infrastructure Engineering, PC, has donated many pro bono hours working as our project manager for the stabilization efforts of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range. He coordinated with the various engineers that conducted tests to help identify priorities for the stabilization. The Friends are highly appreciative of him sharing his knowledge and time.

Paul donates his time to other projects within the community such as serving as President of the Friends of Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson, which is the non-profit support group for the state historic site.

Thank you, Paul, for your contribution to our efforts!

Read for more about Paul.

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