NOAA 2004-R275
Contact: Greg Romano

NOAA News Releases 2004
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration presented a Mark Trail NOAA Weather Radio, All Hazards Award to John O’Brien of Coronado, Calif. for support of the agency’s NWR program in Southern California. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

O’Brien accepted the award at a June 3 ceremony in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Now in its eighth year, the awards program honors individuals and organizations that use or provide NWR receivers or transmitters to save lives and protect property. Twenty award recipients were recognized nationally this year.

“John O’Brien has made a valuable contribution to the community,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary 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.”

"Because of the efforts of John O’Brien, we have expanded the NOAA Weather Radio network in the San Diego County area,” said Vickie Nadolski, director of the National Weather Service’s Western Region. “Coupled with the National Weather Service’s severe weather detection and forecasting capabilities, the radio network advances a proven formula for saving lives."

“John O’Brien and his company, Flagship Properties, helped to fund the newest Southwest California NOAA Weather Radio transmitter,” said Jim Purpura, meteorologist in charge for the NWS San Diego Weather Forecast Office. “We recently installed the transmitter on Mt. Soledad near La Jolla. Now residents, boaters, and visitors have access to marine weather information anytime, thanks to the partners in this project. The new transmitter project was a cooperative effort between NOAA’s National Weather Service and Flagship Properties, with site facilities provided by the U.S. Navy. Together these partners now help us bring the National Weather Service vital weather services to people in an area that has been without this capability for many years.”

John O’Brien, president of Flagship Properties, is a residential property developer, specializing in coastal properties in both Coronado and La Playa. He said he has always had a strong interest in private/public partnerships and asked the NWS how he could help provide a transmitter that would be a seen as a benefit to his fellow mariners.

“John saw this as a great opportunity to help out and provide a much needed public service,” Purpura added. “He recognized that there was a need for a marine NWR transmitter along the coast of extreme Southern California and stepped up to the plate to provide the much-needed help. John supported the purchase entirely of the NWR transmitter by paying approximately $13,000 of his own funds. The transmitter was installed the end of October of 2003.”

The Mark Trail awards are named for the nationally syndicated comic strip character that 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 publicizing severe weather safety through the use of the radios. In recent years, the strip's education message has included the fact that anyone listening to NWR has instant access to the same lifesaving weather reports and all-hazards information provided to meteorologists and emergency personnel.

“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

The Commerce Department'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. To learn more about NOAA, please visit:

Editor’s Note: Graphics of Mark Trail and NOAA Weather Radio and additional information are available on the Web: