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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB014 (2004)

ARLB014 Illinois amateurs support tornado relief, recovery efforts

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 14  ARLB014
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  April 23, 2004
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB014 Illinois amateurs support tornado relief, recovery efforts

Illinois ARRL Section Emergency Coordinator Pat Ryan, KC6VVT,
reports Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) team members and
local radio amateurs in LaSalle County this week supported American
Red Cross relief and recovery efforts in the wake of tornadoes April
20 that left at least eight people dead. LaSalle, Putnam, Kankakee
and Will counties were designated as disaster areas. Especially hard
hit was the LaSalle County town of Utica.

"There was an outstanding turnout by local and nearby hams," Ryan
told ARRL. "Many local hams are assisting in recovery efforts and
damage assessment." SKYWARN teams and severe weather spotters also
helped spread the word of approaching tornadoes. Grundy County
amateurs also turned out to assist in LaSalle County.

LaSalle County ARES Emergency Coordinator Frank Carraro, KF9NZ, said
electric power was out, the roads were clogged with debris and
"panicked residents of the area--some trying to get in, and some
trying to get out."

Jim Stefkovich, KD5HLE, the meteorologist in charge at the National
Weather Service (NWS) Chicago Forecast Office, expressed gratitude
for Amateur Radio's assistance in providing ground-level storm
reports. "This was a true team effort," he said.

The Tri-County N9OUW repeater was put on battery power to provide
essential communication. Hams also started up simplex nets on VHF.

LaSalle County Assistant EC Joe Tokarz, KB9EZZ, said some 30
amateurs responded in his county alone.

Salvation Army Team Emergency Network National Director Pat
McPherson, WW9E, reports Salvation Army canteens have been roving
stricken neighborhoods providing food, beverages and respite and
assisting with damage assessment and cleanup.

"We used SKYWARN and our SATERN folks to keep us abreast of reports
as the weather conditions turned sour," said McPherson, who's
headquartered in Chicago.

Will County ARES Emergency Coordinator Rob Sobkoviak, K9NYO, said
tornadoes destroyed one house and damaged dozens of other homes and
businesses in Joliet. He said The Salvation Army--with SATERN
support--was called in to assist with damage assessment and cleanup
and to provide meals to affected residents and emergency workers.

Sobkoviak also commended the efforts of the ARES Severe Weather Net
and of numerous weather spotters. Will County amateurs also staffed
ARES stations at local emergency operations centers and at the
National Weather Service in Chicago.


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