Service our middle name
From the very beginning of my re-involvement with ham radio, I have been impressed with the service ethic that is a serious part of the ham community. Somehow, it is imbedded in our DNA from our history of passing traffic to our collective dedication to serve when and where we might be needed. Hams radio operators have a reputation as problem solvers. When I worked as a volunteer for the Red Cross, the largest cadre of volunteers came from ham radio operators, even though the communication truck we were supporting largely was a mobile satellite truck. Most of the time, our work involved creating computer connectivity. Almost no radios!
This month, I worked the Chicago Marathon with 145 ham radio volunteers. We had amateur radio ops from 5 states and several distant cities to serve this event. We have become an integral part of the medical operation and it has become one of the most rewarding experiences of my ham radio life, partly because of the dedication shown by our hams to do their part. Public service has many faces and they are not just at events. Look at the folks who serve on your NSRC Board.
It takes a village
Your Board is well served with dedicated members who offer their expertise and time to help manage this club. We are very fortunate to this group of selfless individuals, willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Many have served for many years and have moved into other support positions, like Ron Harroff, who now focuses entirely on our auction. Ron not only collects the gear, writes letters to the donors, but thoroughly inspects all of the gear to make sure it works as described. Warren Pugh has been our treasurer for a number of years and brought a level of professionalism to our record keeping and fiscal management. Partly because of his efforts, we now have a solid financial foundation and some reserves to help us weather difficult times. Our membership numbers have increased thanks to the diligence of Mike Simmons, who helps us find and secure new members. Burt Krain has taken over from Randy Brothers, who managed many of our behind the scenes records and helped develop our web site. We call his position internal communication director and basically that involves managing the web site, Facebook, and the eMitter. He has been working on a program to help do mass e-mailings to our membership. Mark Klocksin has been our net director for several years now and because of his leadership, we have a strong team of net control operators who work our weekly nets. Ron Settle is the first real honest to heaven radio engineer this club has ever had and he has had his hands full. We now have four working repeaters, all with daily challenges to keep them in fine working condition. Ron’s work might be the most invisible to the average club member. We all use the repeaters one way or another. He is happiest when nothing goes wrong! Derick Bonewitz is our Secretary and has taken over many of the registration processes that Randy used to manage. He keeps our business meeting records and all of our membership data. Derick also have been critical in helping us find better ways to manage our business systems and keeps he keeps us all thinking straight with thoughtful questions and insights. Don Whiteman has been our Public Service chair this past year, but has also served as our Treasurer, Vice President, and President. He currently is also our repeater trustee and is the most frequent provider of helpful information on almost any question presented on the club’s reflector. Rich Davidson has been on the board longer than I have and I lost track of how many years. He is our Education Director and has run a successful educational program. He also manages our VE sessions. Dave Hewitt is currently our Vice President and is adding Program Director to his duties. Dave had been our Program Director in the past and will return this coming year. Robert Landgren serves as one of our weekly net control operators but is also our current Program Director. Unfortunately, Robert must leave the Board due to family obligations. Al Hovey comes to Board meetings when he is not in Florida! He has served many key positions here: Public Service Director, Field Day GOTA chair and Field Day Hospitality chair. Vic Maiewski is new to the Board and serves as our IT Director, really advising us on our D-Star network and some of the many computer platforms that we have come to rely on. Jeff Kraft is our Publicity Director but as a retired lawyer, he is also doubling as a sounding board for all manner of issues. Me? I have been President for 8 years, took a break for two years and found myself back on the NSRC bus. I have been on the Board almost from the time I became a ham. Service is in my blood. It has been my privilege and honor to serve this club.
My point is this is what is needed to run an operation like this and it takes both time and talent. We have been blessed from the very beginning to have people willing to serve. And make sacrifices. I am taking the time to write this note to you and not programming my Fusion radio to put in my car! I am sure many members of the board are in the same spot with other projects they would like to tackle. We enjoy serving. That is why we are here. But we cannot continue serving forever. We need new folks to help carry on this club’s traditions.
In this next year, we will be looking to define and create more working groups. This effort is to help spread the work load and to help tease out some new leadership. Meanwhile, if you see any of the people mentioned above, please say thank you to them for serving us well.