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From: ARRL Letter Mailing List []
Sent: Friday, March 18, 2005 15:28 PM

The ARRL Letter Vol. 24, No. 11 March 18, 2005


Amateur Radio earned high marks and frequent praise this month during a gathering of Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) homeland security grant recipients. ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, and Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, represented the League at the series of meetings March 2-5 in Washington. ARRL--a special volunteer program--received a 2002 CNCS grant to subsidize Amateur Radio emergency communications courses, now available on three levels. The League was among 29 CNCS homeland security grantees attending.

"I wish that every ham--whether or not public service is their primary interest--could have been at these meetings to celebrate this grant and the reputation ham radio enjoys among these volunteer service organizations," Hobart said. "It really validated Amateur Radio's contribution. There is new and rekindled appreciation for the sustained public service that Amateur Radio operators are able to provide nationwide."

Indeed, at the opening session, USA Freedom Corps Director Desiree T. Sayle used Amateur Radio and the success of the League's CNCS training grant as a prime example of a successful program. White says she was amazed to hear Sayle recite the exact number of ARRL emergency communications course graduates and talk about their continuing work in disaster preparation and response.

Noting that the CNCS grant tuition subsidies--now in their third and final year--will expire in June, Hobart strongly urged anyone considering taking the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications courses to sign up now. In that vein, White noted the comments of CNCS Executive Director David Eisner, who told the CNCS grantees: "Jump aboard a moving rain, rather than find fuel for a new train that hasn't left yet."

Hobart and White said that during the various conference sessions, it was not unusual to see attendees nodding in assent whenever the discussion turned to Amateur Radio's positive role in their communities. As White recounted, "it was roundly acknowledged that Amateur Radio operators are always needed--for assisting in the wake of blackouts, floods, earthquakes, fires and other emergencies."

Hobart said that in every session were representatives of volunteer organizations who are working with Amateur Radio and recognize it an integral component of what they do.

White says there are several steps hams can take to keep the momentum going. "If you are a Section Manager, Section Emergency Coordinator or District Emergency Coordinator, make sure your state and local emergency management teams know who you are," she said. "If you are a club president or ARES team leader, please encourage your members to enroll in the grant-funded emergency communications course before it's too late." To date, more than 4000 radio amateurs have taken advantage of the grant-subsidized ARRL emergency communications courses.

Hobart also noted that two of the volunteer programs represented at the CNCS meeting expressed interest in the ARRL Education and Technology Program. "The reception Amateur Radio received at this meeting was like a welcome for a good friend," she summed up.

The gratitude and goodwill cut both ways. The ARRL delegation expressed the League's thanks to Eisner and CNCS for "taking a chance on a non-traditional organization" in awarding the 2002 training grant. Hobart and White assured Eisner that radio amateurs are proud of the program's success and "have voiced the renewed commitment of Amateur Radio to provide emergency communication whenever and wherever needed." <snip>