NOAA 03-R299-58
Contact: Marilu Trainor
NOAA News Releases 2003
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


The Sanders’ family, of Fort Thomas, Ariz., today received the John Campanius Holm Award, a national honor for their dedication to observing and reporting weather for 45 years spanning three generations of Sanders. The award was presented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) during a ceremony at the Fort Thomas home of Norman and Nancy Sanders. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Meteorologist-in-Charge Glenn Sampson, of the NWS Forecast Office in Tucson, presented the award to the Sanders’ at a family picnic on their farm, which was attended by more than 50 family members.

“We are pleased to recognize the Sanders Family as one of the nation’s top cooperative weather observers,” said Sampson. “For more than 45 years, their accurate and timely weather reports played a critical role in defining the climate and rainfall patterns of Fort Thomas, and aided in flood forecasting for the Gila basin.”

The Cooperative Weather Observer Program is a nationwide network of 11,000 volunteers, who record temperature and precipitation each dayThe information collected by the Sanders’ and other weather observers become part of the nation’s historical weather and climate archive.

“The Sanders family has a long distinguished record as one of our observers and the Holm Award is one of the most prestigious awards presented each year by the National Weather Service,” Sampson said.

Three generations of Sanders have faithfully recorded climatic readings for NOAA National Weather Service since 1958.

“Taking weather observations is a family affair for the Sanders family,” said Sampson“The Fort Thomas station was established at Vearl and Norma Sanders home in 1958. When the Sanders family moved south of town in 1966, the station was officially relocated to their new farm where it continues today. Throughout these years, eleven Sanders children and seventeen grandchildren have, in turn, accepted responsibility for recording official daily weather readings for the National Weather Service.”

Norman, son of Vearl and Norma, and his wife, Nancy, now operate the family farm and oversee the official weather observation program for Fort Thomas. Their son, Austin, with the help of other family members, reads the instruments, logs the data, and disseminates the reports daily. During these years, the Sanders have maintained the weather instruments and consistently reported accurate and highly reliable weather observations during extreme heat, cold, drought and flood.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather and flood forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The NWS operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:


NOAA National Weather Service:

NWS Cooperative Observer Program: