Contact: Susan A. Weaver
NOAA News Releases 2003
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NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, yesterday, June 17, presented a Mark Trail NOAA Weather Radio Award to Van Wert County Emergency Management of Van Wert, Ohio, Rick McCoy, director. McCoy was honored for support of NOAA Weather & All Hazards Radio. NOAA is an agency of the Department of Commerce.

Now in its seventh year, the Mark Trail Award program honors individuals and organizations that use or provide NOAA Weather & All Hazards Radio receivers and transmitters to save lives and protect property. Nineteen award recipients will be recognized nationally this year.

“NOAA is proud to honor Rick McCoy,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph. D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “His actions have enhanced the safety of citizens in Ohio.”

A long-time NOAA Weather Service customer and partner, Van Wert County Emergency Management is also a long-time proponent of NOAA Weather & All Hazards Radio. NOAA Weather & All Hazards Radio is the driving source of the county-wide emergency communications system that connects to local schools, businesses and public locations. McCoy utilized the system Nov. 10, 2002, to receive warning of a deadly tornado and relay information to theater management over the county system 25 minutes before the tornado hit. More than 50 children and parents were moved to interior areas that provided better shelter. When the tornado passed, three cars were left in previously occupied seats in one theater of the multi-plex.

According to Steve Eddy, warning coordination meteorologist at the Northern Indiana NOAA Weather Service Forecast Office in Syracuse, many lives were saved as a direct result of the Federal-county partnership.

“Led by Rick McCoy, the people in Van Wert County Emergency Management have always been very cognizant of the hazards presented by severe weather and the early warnings provided via NOAA Weather & All Hazards Radio,” Eddy said. “Van Wert County earned StormReady designation in January 2002, partly because of its excellent communications system driven by NOAA Weather & All Hazards Radio. Nov. 10, 2002, confirmed to all of us and to Van Wert residents the critical difference that can result from using NOAA Weather & All Hazards Radio and being StormReady.”

"The combination of improved severe weather detection and forecasting capabilities, and expansion of our Weather & All Hazards Radio network is a proven formula for saving lives," National Weather Service Central Region Director Dennis McCarthy said.

The Mark Trail awards are named for the nationally syndicated comic strip character, which serves as the campaign symbol for the NWR program. Since 1995, Jack Elrod, writer and illustrator of Mark Trail, and King Features Syndicate, have been strong advocates for the use of NWR. The strip's education message explains that anyone listening to the NWR has instant access to the same lifesaving weather reports and all-hazards emergency information provided to meteorologists and emergency personnel.

NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information nearby NOAA National Weather Service offices. NWR broadcasts NOAA National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day. There are more than 800 NWR transmitters, covering all 50 states, adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The National Weather Service 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.

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (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 our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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