Subject: Section Manager’s Summer Communique
How was your Field Day? It has presented some challenges this year with the record snowpack and subsequent flooding. Considering the purpose of FD it appears that Mother Nature decided to provide her own inject. For some the result has been choosing a new location. Be sure to submit your photos and experiences with Field Day for the website.
Right on the heels of FD 2023 is VOTA 2023. Whether you choose to work towards the total points awards or the WAS (Worked All States) recognition. Follow this link https://arrlutah.org/?p=611 to the website for more information from our Affiliated Club Coordinator Ted Cowan NA7C.
The 2023 ARRL Rocky Mountain Division will be in Albuquerque, NM for August 11-13. See divisionconvention.org for more information.
The time has come to announce the Rocky Mountain Division Convention for 2024. It will be held in St George hosted by the Dixie Amateur Radio Club. We are excited to have them show another side of Utah.
The Gordon Smith Award has been given to STM (Section Traffic Manager) Jim Brown NA7G. It is “Presented to an individual Amateur Radio operator who, in the opinion of the Utah Section of ARRL, is deserving of recognition for outstanding service and achievement, during his or her lifetime, to the Amateur Radio community”. Jim has devoted nearly 40yrs in service to not only the Section but beyond. His unwavering dedication exemplifies the reason he is respected without question.
Speaking of the recent past and the immediate future, I am glad to start my second term as your Section Manager. I have been fortunate to have a good team to work with and appreciate their willingness to serve.
I am guessing that most of you may not be aware that ARRL is a member of NVOAD (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) http://www.nvoad.org/. NVOAD is an umbrella organization representing a coalition of NGO’s (Non-Government Organizations) which include not only ARRL but the Red Cross, Churches, Habitat for Humanity, and many more.
The same is true for Utah. The Utah ARRL Section is a member of Utah VOAD https://utahvoad.org/. As with any umbrella organization, it is staffed by members of the represented NGO’s. I was nominated by Utah VOAD (UTVOAD) to be their next president. That has happened and I will now be serving concurrently as Utah ARRL Section Manager and Utah VOAD President. Exciting times ahead!
We have been looking for a PIC (Public Information Coordinator) for some time. Please welcome Scott Rosenbush as our new PIC. He comes with an eclectic background of experience that is proving to be a definite asset.
We have another change that just took effect. I want to thank Rick Mead for his contribution as SEC (Section Emergency Coordinator). He has continued to build the foundation of the ARES organization. Due to other commitments Rick is Stepping down and we will miss his involvement. I have asked him to continue as an Assistant Section Manager (ASM).
I agree with Rick who has suggested Washington County EC Brett Pruitt as his replacement. Brett has made inroads to Emergency Management and other partner agencies/organizations.
I will close by saying that it has been a privilege to serve you and thank you for that opportunity.
Here is a message from our new SEC, Brett Pruitt.
The ARES® Identity Crisis
by: Brett Pruitt, K7BDP, Utah Section Emergency Coordinator
Since 1935, emergency communicators have a proud history within amateur radio. The first local Emergency Coordinators were appointed in 1937. Following World War II, the position of Section Emergency Coordinator was created. In 1951, the AEC became the Amateur Radio Emergency Corps. In 1963, AREC was made the emergency Division of the Amateur Radio Public Service Corps. And in 1978, ARES became the official emergency communications arm of amateur radio. However, the renaming of ARES isn’t the identity crisis we’re discussing.
The identity I write of should be one of an independent cohort, working in partnership with public and private entities to better prepare for disasters and emergencies, and augment communications capabilities in the event of a disaster or emergency. But lately, all I see within ARES is COML, COMT, and AUXCOMM. I see subordination to government agencies, and the almost total loss of anything resembling where we came from and who we are – or, rather, who we used to be. I understand what is happening. I don’t understand why it is happening.
Perhaps radio operators are chasing titles that supposedly set them apart (read: above) their peers. This is as farcical as believing an Amateur Extra class licensee is automatically a better radio operator than a General class licensee. Balderdash! Perhaps it’s a desire to have a patch or a badge and look official. Perhaps it gives some a sense of belonging to something that they attribute as special, or better than the others. Whatever the reason, and I’m sure the reasons are varied, ARES must reclaim the identity it has forgotten – and that starts from the top – ARES leaders.
When I took my second ARRL field position in ARES, Emergency Coordinator, there was a myth floating around the local ARES Group. This myth claimed that only the county emergency manager could activate the local ARES Group. This myth was further enhanced by the notion that any other agency within the county – governmental agency or NGO – had to request the assistance of ARES through the county emergency manager. Nothing in any existing memorandum of understanding, nothing in the ARRL EC Manual, nothing in any document that I could find anywhere justified this myth. On the contrary, everything I found contradicted this.
So I set a meeting to let the emergency manager know that we were not abandoning him, but I was reclaiming my ARES Group. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but regardless, I went into the meeting knowing that my ARES Group would be mine by the end of it. What did I get from the emergency manager? Relief. He was relieved that he didn’t have to manage this group of volunteers anymore – as if he didn’t have enough on his plate. He was relieved to know that I was in charge of my team. He was relieved to know that he didn’t have to become an expert in radio communications because that was our job, and we were there to assist him if he called upon us. He was relieved to have a reliable partner he could count on, rather than another responsibility he had to tend to.
Once I reclaimed my team, off I went, meeting and liaising with other government officials, private organizations, other volunteer organizations, to explain who ARES was and what we could offer them. I joined the local emergency planning council; attended meetings with the regional health department and local hospitals, liaised with the Medical Reserve Corps, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), and other volunteer organizations in my county. Introductions were made.
Relationships were built. Trust was earned. And an identity was rediscovered, not just by our ARES Group, but by our served agencies. ARES was a partner – a respected partner at that – retaining our own autonomy while offering a needed, specialized skill to anyone who requested it.
I get it. We have to speak the same language as our served agencies. NIMS is that language and we all should be well versed in the NIMS and ICS protocols. But that doesn’t mean we have to give up who we are to do it. American Red Cross uses NIMS and ICS, and yet they maintain their identity as the American Red Cross. The Coast Guard uses NIMS and ICS, and yet they are still the Coast Guard.
We are partners with, not volunteers for. ARES members are partners with our served agencies.
COML’s and COMT’s are volunteers for FEMA. I’m not saying one can’t be both. I’m not saying one shouldn’t be both. I am saying that they are two separate things: non-overlapping magisteria, if you will. AUXCOMM is not ARES, and ARES is not AUXCOMM. And while we’re at it, RACES is not an organization. It is a set of rules by which a station operating within the Amateur Radio Service may operate under certain conditions – but I’ll save that for another article.
ARES is autonomous. ARES is a partner. ARES assists existing disaster response organizations – both government and non-government organizations, but ARES remains its own. We do not belong to an emergency manager. We are not the Sheriff’s auxiliary communications team. We do not belong to FEMA. We do not belong to RACES. We are ARES.
Train like it matters. So that when it does matter, you’ll be ready.
ARRL Utah Section
Section Manager: Pat Malan, N7PAT