NOAA 2004-R264
Contact: Pat Slattery

NOAA News Releases 2004
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has presented the Mark Trail NOAA Weather Radio, All Hazards Award to Cherry County, Neb., Emergency Management Director Eilene Brannon. Brannon will receive the award at a June 3 ceremony in Washington, D.C. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Now in its eighth year, the Mark Trail Award program honors individuals and organizations that use or provide NWR receivers and transmitters to save lives and protect property. Twenty award recipients will be recognized nationally this year.

“The Cherry County Emergency Management Director, Eilene Brannon, has made a valuable contribution to her community,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA Weather Radio can provide the public with those extra minutes of warning in situations where minutes can save lives.”

Brannon was honored for her personal efforts in promoting public awareness of NWR and providing Weather Radio receivers for local users. Brannon used grants to buy receivers for all government buildings, schools, shelters, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, fire/rescue departments, dam operators and other buildings in Cherry County. She also worked with retailers to provide receivers at discounted prices and promoted NWR use in numerous media interviews.

According to Debra D. Blondin, warning coordination meteorologist at the North Platte National Weather Service Forecast Office, Brannon’s actions have helped ensure the safety of Cherry County residents. “Thanks to Eilene’s efforts, both professional and personal, Cherry County residents can now access severe weather and other warnings quickly,” Blondin said.

“The combination of improved severe weather detection and forecasting capabilities, and expansion of our NWR network is a proven formula for saving lives,” added National Weather Service Central Region Director Dennis McCarthy.

The Mark Trail award is named for the nationally syndicated comic strip character which serves as the campaign symbol for the NOAA Weather Radio program. Since 1995, Jack Elrod, writer and illustrator of Mark Trail, and King Features Syndicate have been strong advocates for publicizing severe weather safety through the use of weather radios.

“Jack Elrod and his alter ego, Mark Trail, have been great partners to NOAA National Weather Service in helping educate the public to the importance of having a NOAA Weather Radio in your home when danger threatens,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the National Weather Service.

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. To learn more about NWS, please visit:

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Information about NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio and the Mark Trail Award is available at: