I have often spoken about this, but as a group, I have never found a better group of generous people than ham radio operators. I suspect is it a natural extension of their gregarious nature, willing to talk to people all over the world in all manner of formats. Evidence for this behavior is abundant…just witness the time and hour spent by Derick Bonewitz, Burt Krain, Don Whiteman, Dave Hewitt and others who spent several hours recently introducing ham radio and soldering skills to folks at the Northbrook Library. Derick and Burt also did a similar show-and-tell at the Highland Park Library a few weeks back. It is great to give ham radio a face…and a voice to a public that basically thinks we all died after the War (which war though?)
The Chicago Marathon is another amazing testament to the passion ham radio operators have for public service. 150 hams from 5 states signed up to support the medical team on the course. The weather was bleak. Early morning rain and cold, it was not a fun assignment. While working on this event – this was our tenth year – I have come to work alongside some incredibly talented people. It has become one of the most rewarding activities I have been associated with since I got back into the hobby 10,000 Q’s ago (or so it seems). These are people who bring their own gear, many pay for their own hotels and flights (one guy comes from San Francisco…as he has for the past 4 years! He wrote me today to say that he has already bought his airline ticket for next yea.) Seeing all these folk’s report for duty at 5 a.m. and bring their “A” game is rewarding. We have delivered for this event in countless ways. We should all be proud of the work these folks have done in the name of ham radio.
Similarly, the NSRC has supported the Evanston Bike Club’s North Shore Century for 13 years. I was biting my nails this year as many of our veteran supporters had to step away. To my absolute delight we ended up with a crop of new recruits. Some came down from Racine to help us…. not even sure how they heard about us? But, I was sure glad to have them. I know this is not a life or death event, but for the 2300 bikers who challenge themselves to attempt a 100-mile run, we are a critical support team. My only regret is that this event happens the same weekend as the NIDXA convention. I really miss that event…and will have to find a way to recruit someone to set up Saturday morning for the bike event so I can attend again. But I have learned you can’t be in too many places at once (believe me, I have tried!)
Speaking of attempting the impossible, my hat is off to Burt Krain…he not only has championed a strong relationship with the Northbrook Public Library but now he has tackled our biggest challenge: filling Ron Harroff’s huge shoes as our Club’s auction manager. I helped move some of the 15 boxes of stuff we have collected so far to a new staging area to prepare for the 2018 auction. Years ago, this club had small financial hole that we could not fill. We cut back on some services (like printing the old newsletter and mailings) – but nothing seemed to quite help us balance our books. I even considered selling Radio Club Cookies (just kidding! But I do like my wife’s recipe for chocolate chip). Anyway, Ron Harroff took up the challenge one year when a ham donated his entire shack to the club. Well, this has blossomed into a serious activity. It does help us fill the budget shortfall and even more in some years, but to organize this takes a real ring master. I am very grateful to Burt for accepting the job. (and grateful to Ron for his leadership in this area all these years).
Finally, I want to give a big shout out to all my fellow Board members who are on the 2018 slate. This will be my 10 year as President (non- consecutive years…I did have a break in there – thank you Don Whiteman, but this is my 17th year on the Board! And, I am not the longest tenured member! This has been incredibly rewarding and only because of the generosity and selflessness of your Board. Thank them when you get a chance. Together we have made the NSRC one of the premiere ham radio clubs in the country (OK, I’ll say it! Why not.)