ARRL Diamond Terrace Grows
Spring is finally here and it's that time -- time to expand the Diamond Terrace at ARRL. "We've been waiting all winter for the opportunity to add new inscribed bricks and today's the day," said ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. "Since the last installation in the fall of 2007, we've been accumulating bricks from Diamond Club donors who have donated generously to honor their own call sign or that of an Elmer, friend or family member." The bricks were moved yesterday to the Terrace area in preparation for the masons to arrive early Friday morning to begin work
Hobart said this installation is not the end of the project: "The Diamond Terrace project continues as long as members want to place bricks -- or we run out of space! We continue to receive requests from individuals as well as clubs to place bricks in the Terrace, so the project is still growing. Now is the perfect time to renew or join the Diamond Club -- or upgrade -- at the Brass Level so that we can install bricks over the next six months or so. The terrace ultimately will consist of 5000 bricks. "We hope it will be a catalyst for growth, and that many members will support this effort," she said.
For a minimum donation of $250 to the ARRL Diamond Club, donors will receive one personalized brick to be placed in the Diamond Terrace. Donors may request up to three lines of 16 characters (spaces and punctuation included) per line on each brick, although the more lines, the smaller the characters. Legends may consist of a call sign or a name -- or both -- or a club name and call sign and even a year. Diamond Club members contributing $250 or more each year may add a new brick, or bricks, to the terrace.
There is no limit to the number of bricks a Diamond Club member may place on the Terrace. Brick requests will be accumulated throughout the year and placed in the Diamond Terrace starting in late spring of each year. Bricks will be set in sand and are treated to withstand a harsh New England winter.
The Diamond Terrace recognizes donors wishing to venerate their own call signs or to honor or memorialize the call sign of a family member, club or "Elmer" (mentor) bricks. "I have heard wonderful stories from donors who are honoring their Elmer or a family member, and clubs who are honoring a founder or influential leader. There is no limit to the reasons why bricks are placed to honor a call sign," Hobart said.
Especially generous donors may wish to donate a garden bench to The Diamond Terrace at ARRL for an initial donation of $10,000. "Six garden benches of Vermont granite, the capstone of the Terrace, have been placed, thanks to the contributions of six incredibly generous hams," Hobart said. Bench donors include Frank Butler, W4RH; Larry Price, W4RA; Dick Isely, W9GIG; Paul Rinaldo, W4RI; Mike Zak, W1MU, and the Hollywood Hills QRP Contest Club.
"We had plans to refurbish the Headquarters entrance area, so this was an ideal opportunity to invite our members to participate in the project and supporting League programs at the same time," said Hobart. "We want to grow the Diamond Club, which enables the ARRL to continue programs that require revenue above and beyond what annual dues provide, ensuring their long-term health and enabling the League to do more on behalf of Amateur Radio."
When the ARRL Diamond Terrace was official opened in July 2007, ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, said, "All of us who work here in Newington get to enjoy the Diamond Terrace every day when we come to work. We get to walk through a greatly enhanced entrance that sends the right message to staff and to our members, as well as visitors, about the character and tradition of our organization."
ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, concurred: "When you talk to the average ham out on the street, and you ask him what's important to him in Amateur Radio, he will tell you, 'I want to go into my shack, I want to turn on my radio and I want to get on the air. I want to enjoy Amateur Radio. You take care of that for me. You are my organization, the ARRL; you handle that for me.'"
Harrison continued that in order for that to happen, a lot of work takes place behind the scenes. "With all that we have going on in Washington, nationally, with all the attacks on Amateur Radio's resources, it takes people like you in Newington, it takes people like we have on the Board of Directors and most importantly, it takes people who donate to our development program to make that all happen. The Diamond Terrace is just one part of that, and it's a successful part. It adds a lot of meaning to Amateur Radio and to the ARRL. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say 'thank you' to everyone here and to every one of our donors."
Diamond Club enrollment ($75-$249 per year for regular members; $50 annually for Life Members) includes ARRL full-member benefits, including QST. The Diamond Club now has more than 2000 members, and the unrestricted funds it takes in support such ARRL activities as spectrum defense, educational initiatives, field services, DXCC, publications, contesting and the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator among others, Hobart points out. "You pick an area that's near and dear to your heart, and Diamond Club revenue is very likely supporting it."
The ARRL Diamond Terrace, built by Robert Antonello and Son, under the watchful eye of ARRL Building Manager, Greg Kwasowski, W1GJK, and Hobart, is a lasting tribute to Amateur Radio and the ARRL. "I hope that those who are fortunate to visit ARRL Headquarters will enjoy the new look of their Amateur Radio home. It has been a pleasure to work with each Diamond Club donor to craft the engraving for their brick, and I hope many can come and see the terrace personally," Hobart said.