So long and thanks for all the fish!

"So long and thanks for all the fish!"  For those who have not read "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", that was the farewell from the Dolphins as they were leaving Earth before its destruction to make way for "a hyperspace bypass"...

That is a bit over the top dramatic license especially since I am just ending my term as Section Emergency Coordinator and not ending my association or commitment to ARES and it is certainly not the end of the planet in any case...

But I did want to take the time to thank everyone for their part in making this a mostly enjoyable and definitely worthwhile experience for me. 

The real work in ARES is done at the Emergency Coordinator level and their efforts are much appreciated.   Of course, they can only be effective with the generous contributions of the membership!  I'd also like to thank the District Emergency Coordinators for their efforts and also the Assistant Section Emergency Coordinators. 

We now have a first class member/installed equipment database and document repository in what we call our "Information Depot" and I'd like to thank my bride, Judy for her continuous efforts to create and improve it.  No one put in more hours than Judy and she will continue to support this important effort.  (More on the Information Depot below.) 

I'm grateful to Jim Russell NQ5L for agreeing to take over as SEC starting January 1st.  Jim is an experienced executive and has a long time commitment to ARES that includes some early Winlink HF deployment (Hurricane Rita), a long stint as EC for Williamson county and a fine job organizing our Rapid Response Task Force teams. Jim will  do a fine job as SEC.

Finally, I am grateful to our Section Manager Lee Cooper W5LHC for appointing me and being a great boss in my 3 years as SEC.  Lee is a very committed and experienced EMCOMM person and was a good source of advice and guidance while also "letting the horse have the reins" delegating the responsibility and being a good, supportive leader.  Thanks Lee!

Update your personal data in the Information Depot!  We need to make sure that everyone's data stays current in the database - remember that this information is used by your leaders to mine for capabilities and to be able to contact you.  Please take a look at your information and hit "update" even if you have not changed anything so we know it is current.  And it almost certainly is not current - we have added a great deal of new fields for emergency contacts, paging information and lots of new courses since most people last logged in.

As a final comment, I'd like to mention the statistics for 2012 based on the reports submitted by the EC team over the last 12 months.

Training hours: 34,423 (This can be training during meetings, exercises, nets, time taking courses, etc.)

Public service hours: 20,120 (This can be doing communications for a race, work on a repeater or other installation, emergency planning with an agency, etc.)

Emergency hours: 875

Total hours: 55,422

This is a very impressive number of hours and represents a real contribution to our communities.  There were a total of 38 emergency operations reported this year. Of these, 34 were weather related (8 were associated with the Hurricane Isaac near miss), 1 was a communications outage, 2 were fire related and 1 was a search and rescue.

It has been an incredible privilege to get to have a front row seat for the activities these hours represent.  Thanks for that and all you do!


73 Tom Whiteside N5TW

ARRL South Texas Section Emergency Coordinator