On August 12th, employees of Forever Resorts and Isle Royale National Park gathered in Rock Harbor at the site of a newly-constructed concession employee recreation hall to dedicate the building to the memory of Dennis A. Long. Long was a seasonal NPS maintenance employee who lost his life in 1969 rescuing a concession employee from the waters of Lake Superior.
On August 6, 1969, in the early evening, Dennis and three concession friends hiked to Scoville Poin, on the far eastern end of the island of Isle Royale. They entered the water there to play in the waves of an approaching storm system. One of swimmers was swept away from shore, so Dennis swam to her aid. With his help, she managed to reach the rocky shoreline and climb to safety, but Long did not make it back to shore. An extensive search for Long ensued, but his body was not found until two weeks later near the location where he had drowned.
For saving the life of another, Dennis Long was given the Department of Interior Valor Award and the Carnegie Hero Award. Numerous letters of support were written in hopes of finding a special way to remember Dennis Long and the sacrifice that he made.
The new building was a joint effort by the National Park Service, which provided the labor, and the NPCI Trust Fund, which funded the project. A newly-commissioned oil painting of Dennis Long was hung in the building along with a specially designed plaque that tells the Dennis Long story. It is hoped that his story will be an inspiration to the concession and park employees in the years to come.