"The only gift is a portion of thyself." In this incredibly short sentence, Ralph Waldo Emerson captured the true essence of what volunteerism is all about. In an interview with my hometown newspaper, Cadet Nicholas S. Vazzana, 1993 Civil Air Patrol Cadet of the Year, was asked what is the greatest, most significant thing CAP has taught him? His reply centered on the importance of volunteerism.
"I would probably say the value of volunteerism is most important, at least in this country. It's amazing the kind of effort that a few people you could think would do anything --- putting their efforts and resources together --- can accomplish," Vazzana said.
The following is extracted from the CAP News:
The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC, formerly Boise Interagency Fire Center) located in Boise, Idaho is a joint venture of the several agencies: USFS (U.S. Forest Service), BLM (Bureau of Land Management), BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs), USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), NPS (National Park Service) and NWS (National Weather Service).
In addition to fires it has also been active in floods, earthquakes and other disasters such as Hurricane Andrew, Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption and the Northridge Quake. For the latter the State Office of Emergency Services ordered virtually everything from the Boise radio warehouse - hundreds of portables, repeaters, control stations, fixed links, battery packs and antennas.
Effective 0600 hours this date, the callsign at State OES Headquarters is W6SIG. W6SIG was the call at the Sacramento Army Depot since 1946. The Federal Communications Commission recognizes the outstanding record of W6SIG in support of public service. With the closing of the Army Depot, the call W6SIG will live on in continued service to the people of California. This was made possible through the efforts, cooperation, and support of the Commission and W6SIG trustee General Jimmie Felts, W6RQO.
Q. I want to be a regular communications volunteer in government service. What kind of vehicle should I have?
A. This has no simple answer. It depends on (1) whether or not you are a responder, (2) what your role is, (3) your local climate and terrain, (4) what local authorities use, and (5) the importance of your completing vehicular access to the incident. Let's take these one at a time:
Persons with access to the Internet computer network can retrieve RACES Bulletins and the RACES Bulletins By Topic material from the RACES Archive. The Archive collection includes all of the RACES Bulletins ever issued, all RACES Bulletins in the "by topic" format, model RACES plans, and other items of interest.
This material is accessible by anonymous FTP to UCSD.EDU. The material is located in the "hamradio/races" directory.
The weekly RACES Bulletins are prepared for and by all communications volunteers in government service -- not just the RACES.
All of our RACES bulletins now carry a 3 letter designator as an identifier of the subject category in response to requests from around the country. Note the example on this bulletin. The following identifiers are now used:
Nine members of the City of Barstow (CA) RACES provided communications support to augment fire department communications during a fire control training class.
This function, which served as a drill for our organization, was held in Barstow with several local and military fire departments participating. Seven condemned houses were used for fire control training and subsequently burned to the ground.
CA State OES began the Bulletins in the early 1950's to assist agencies and radio operators to become more familiar with RACES. They were issued periodically until 1985, at which time they began to be issued weekly over voice and digital radio systems of Amateur Radio and in print. Originally intended for California, increased demand, and a 1988 request by the ARRL for national distribution, led to their eventual worldwide distribution.