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Amateur radio club gets Special Service Club award

The Southern Ohio Amateur Radio Association (SOARA) was recently awarded the Special Service Club award for their public service work.

The group pays for their own equipment and is dedicated to helping out when they are called upon, whether that is during an emergency or helping out with communications during something like Monday’s Ironton Christmas parade.

The award was presented during SOARA’S Nov. 19 meeting by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

Scott Yonally, N8SY, ARRL Ohio section manager, said the award is reserved for ARRL-affiliated clubs that have met or exceeded the strict requirements set out by the ARRL.

“One of the main requirements is a club’s dedication to public service, which is a hallmark and a mission statement component for SOARA,” Yonally said. He cited a proclamation by the Lawrence County Commissioners which declared April 20, 2018, as Ham Radio Day in Lawrence County and recognized the members of SOARA for their dedicated service to their communities. “The Commissioners have seen the men and women of SOARA in action during declared disasters, providing communication during the Lawrence County Ironton Memorial Day Parade, Ironton Lions Club Christmas Parade, community events and a host of related community activities.”

James Rowe, N8TVO, president of SOARA said that SOARA, and Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) are relied upon to provide emergency backup communication to Lawrence County in the event of a communications failure. However, they do so much more for the EMA as well as for the community. The members continue to train in other disciplines such as first aid, CPR, AED, damage assessment, hazardous material, National Weather Service SKYWARN, Incident Command, Fire services and specialized Ohio EMA and FEMA training.

“Yes, these are our Lawrence County volunteers giving of their time, radio equipment and specialized training. Each amateur holds a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) radio license. The members are very deserving of the ARRL Special Service Club Award.

“When All Else Fails There Is Amateur Radio,” Eddie Jenkins, N8URU ARES, EC was quoted as saying.

Michael Boster, director of the Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency, said that when a disastrous event occurs in a community, clear and consistent communication is essential to protect people, property and the environment.

“Large emergency events are very complex, requiring the collaboration of many individuals and organizations. Lawrence County is fortunate to have a dedicated group of communications specialists, the Southeast Ohio Amateur Radio Association, or SOARA, who work officially under the Amateur Radio Relay League and help complete the communications puzzle in a disaster-stricken county,” Boster said. “The Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is both proud of and grateful for these men and women who volunteer their service to our county during times of need, and as the county’s EMA Director, it is a privilege to honor and to recognize the leadership and the communicators who serve when needed.”