Letter to the editor

Dear Editor: There are true heroes in our midst. Some of them wear uniforms from time-to-time, but most of them never do. Among them are farmers, ranchers, doctors, public servants, homemakers, retirees and others. The thing they have in common is that they devote their personal time, and place themselves in potentially dangerous situations, to do what they can to protect the lives and property of others. I’m referring to the SKYWARN spotters of McCulloch County. Two weeks ago we held a SKYWARN training class in Brady. More than 40 people attended to learn the ins and outs of recognizing and reporting severe weather events. On Sunday night, March 11, those spotters were put to the test, and they passed with flying colors. Three separate thunderstorms passed through McCulloch County between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. that evening. As they approached specific areas of the county, the various volunteer fire departments were paged, and a radio weather net was established on Brady VFD’s radio channel. Another net was established on the local amateur (ham) radio frequency. Information was reported from the spotters, who went to vantage points for observing the storms, and that data was relayed to the National Weather Service office in San Angelo. The NWS issued two separate severe thunderstorm warnings for McCulloch County on the basis of information received from these spotters. Some of the spotters who were observing from their own residences did not have two-way radios, so they reported by telephone. The information was just as valid and just as useful. Information provided by the NWS was also broadcast out to the spotters, and to anyone else who may have been listening to the radio traffic. The basic message here is to extend a special thanks to the Brady Police Department’s Communications Operators, the members of the Brady, Lohn, Doole, Placid, Rochelle, and Voca Volunteer Fire Departments, the Brady-McCulloch County EMS, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, and the ‘private citizens’ who participated during this weather emergency. They performed well and provided an exemplary service to the whole community. Whenever you see someone who has a SKYWARN sticker on his vehicle, give that person a ‘thank you.’ He or she definitely deserves it. The individuals at the National Weather Service office in San Angelo also deserve accolades. They may think that we’re helping them, but they’re really helping us. Their notifications to us, and their response to our input really make the whole system work like a well-oiled machine. Rick Melcer Assistant Coordinator, Brady-McCulloch County Emergency Management

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