Well if you don’t know by now, it’s old news that like so many things now a days after a couple of weeks is just a distant memory. At our last face to face training I introduced our New ARRL Emergency Coordinator, Wade Graves KF5AUD. Wade will do a fine job, and I hope you will encourage him and give your support as he works to improve our abilities.
It was just over five years ago I began the learning experience of what the task is of those that take this role. I was fortunate to have Wade and Moe Knight NT7C along as my wingmen to help with that understanding. The AECs did a fine job of offering assistance and guidance also. We’ve had some folks leave and some folks join, all were appreciated and I thank them for the close support.
In those five years we have accomplished a great deal. Some was mundane administrative work and a great deal was fun, creative and involved working with you folks that make up ARES in Grayson County. Mike Bernier KF5NPM built the TECOARES website. Brad McMillon KE5UMJ, Robert Massey KF5FLN, and Wade administered our database so we can report to ARRL accurate information on meetings, man-hours and similar report information. We got on Facebook. We became better known. We developed a relationship at GCC that has led to Moe’s classes where over 100 persons have taken Amateur radio classes and received licenses. We have reworked and updated our SKYWARN SOP as well as our constitution and bylaws. Oh yes, at the same time we also developed the organization into a 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit. Working with our Director of County Emergency Management, Sara Somers K1EMC, we updated and improved the ARES portion of the Grayson County Emergency Operation plan.
Yes, a lot of work was done but we served our communities also. Innumerable SKYWARN nets were held at all hours of the day or night, and you responded. Who can forget the Mother’s Day storms, the floods, ICEMAgeddon, the tornadoes in Howe and Whitesboro? Several thousand of your hours were spent in service to our towns and the county. Then there was our Search and Rescue operations in the Pottsboro area working with multiple agencies for most of a day. Siren tests (thanks Brad!), annual Simulated Emergency Tests, and over 120 training nets were held. Training emphasis increased with the use of the Task Book. Our SKYWARN training has grown from Basic training to now include Advanced training for over 200 persons last session. Our relationships with the NWS Meteorologists and the Amateurs that serve in Ft Worth has improved due to your work in spotting and reporting.
You have made this a great experience. Working with volunteers is a challenge, and I know I have not made everyone happy. I know some have left for other operations. That’s unfortunate. I worked to do the best I knew how to allow our ARES operators to become better. Many had never been a part of an organization devoted to community service in distressed times. You are a special group of people with special gifts and talents. I will continue to cherish the relationships we have developed. In the end that’s what it’s all about, people meeting people where they are, seeing to the needs of others, and caring for them in such a manner they come away better for the experience.