Homeland security grant goes to amateur radio membership association
The American Radio Relay League, Newington, Conn., will receive a $181,900 homeland security grant from the U.S. Government to train amateur radio operators in emergency communications. The League was among several dozen non-profit organizations designated to receive some $10.3 million in federal money to boost homeland defense volunteer programs. The grant, from the Corporation for National and Community Service special volunteer program, will provide free ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course training to 5,200 volunteers nationwide, starting in 2003.
“ARRL is the national association for amateur radio and is the national leader in emergency communications by volunteers who operate their own equipment on their time at no cost to any government, organization or corporation,” said the announcement July 18 from Tom Ridge, director of the White House office of Homeland Security.
The ARRL plans to revise and update the emergency communications curriculum to incorporate additional elements of emergency preparedness and homeland security.
ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, said he was pleased by the news.
“This adds legitimacy to the public service work Amateur Radio has been doing for years,” he said.
ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, applied for the funding in May.
“I think this is an extraordinarily exciting day for Amateur Radio that the role of amateur radio in homeland security is recognized at the highest levels of government,” Hobart said upon learning of the grant. Citing amateur radio’s response in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Hobart said the federal grant ”will help continue our work in providing public service and to protect lives, homes, businesses and our frequencies, as we have for decades.”
ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, said he was pleased that the League would be able to extend its Amateur Radio Emergency Communications program to thousands of amateurs who might otherwise not be able to afford the program.
“We hope all who are interested will get on board,” he said.
The grant announcement said that “expanding the opportunities for Americans to participate in meaningful volunteer service” is at the heart of President George Bush’s USA Freedom Corps, of which the Corporation for National and Community Service is a part.
“We are deeply grateful to Tom Ridge and to the Corporation for National and Community Service for providing Amateur Radio with a unique opportunity to serve our country,” Hobart said.
In June, the ARRL and United Technologies Corporation announced a partnership to provide free ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course training for up to 250 Connecticut amateurs.
(American Radio Relay League Bulletin)