NOAA 2005-R242
Contact: Ron Trumbla
NOAA News Releases 2005
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The Wichita County (Texas) Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) has been selected to receive the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Environmental Hero Award. The award will be presented by Michael Foster, meteorologist-in-charge of NOAA’s National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman, Okla., during a special ceremony at the Multi-purpose Events Center in Wichita Falls, May 10.

Under the direction of veteran radio operator and SKYWARN storm spotter Charlie Byars, ARES has been helping NOAA’s National Weather Service detect and track dangerous storms in northwest Texas for several decades. The group is also noted for playing a critical, life-saving role in observing and reporting a violent F5 tornado that ravaged its home base of Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1979. Since the early 1970s, the ARES “hams” have been a mainstay of support and invaluable information for city, county and state emergency management agencies – as well as NOAA’s National Weather Service.

Established in 1996, the Environmental Hero award is presented to individuals and organizations that volunteer their time and energy to help NOAA carry out its mission.

“NOAA and the nation are fortunate to have such dedicated people volunteer so much of their time,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “They set a perfect example for others to follow in their communities. America needs more environmental heroes like them.”

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

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, 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.

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