For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Members of Wood County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES), Portage County ARES and the Mid-State Repeater Association gathered for their annual Christmas party and recognition night. The event was held at Lake Aire Supper Club in the town of Saratoga.
After dinner, a presentation took place that recognized Ken Snyder of Wisconsin Rapids for his years serving as Emergency Coordinator for the amateur radio emergency services in Wood County. Snyder retired from the Emergency Coordinator position in October 2017 and assumed a role as an Assistant Emergency Coordinator. In 2017 alone, radio operators donated a total of 2,705 hours –or 112.7 continuous days- to provide emergency and auxiliary communications and did monthly training to help keep residents and guests of Wood County safe and accounted for.
Some of the activities that Snyder coordinated was SKYWARN severe weather spotting with real-time reports to Wood County Emergency Management and the National Weather Service, the Point in Time count held semi-annually in cooperation with the United Way, Fourth of July and Halloween Watch with the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department, Flood watch with Adams County ARES, and weather watch for the Wisconsin State Water Ski Show Tournament at Lake Wazeecha to name a few.
In 2016, Snyder was nominated for Wisconsin ARES/RACES Emergency Coordinator of the year for his actions at Lake Wazeecha during the severe storm that struck the Wisconsin State Water Ski Show Tournament. Radio operators located west and north of Wisconsin Rapids observed a potentially severe thunderstorm with visible lightning and notified Snyder at Lake Wazeecha. Snyder notified tournament officials who stopped the tournament until the storm passed. This early warning came out to about twelve minutes of lead time for event goers to seek shelter. Mother Nature struck and dealt her worst, yet the early warning Snyder received from other amateurs and passed along to tournament officials saved untold lives and prevented countless injuries.
Snyder was presented with a plaque recognizing his years of meritorious service as Emergency Coordinator. This plaque was presented to him by his successor, Wood County ARES Emergency Coordinator Mike Krohn and fellow Assistant Emergency Coordinator Don Berkholtz, Jr.
“We are truly blessed to have been led by Ken [Snyder] these years as he set a very high bar for those of us that follow in his footsteps to reach” said Krohn of Snyder’s tenure.
The amateur radio emergency services are overseen by the American Radio Relay League and are open to all licensed amateur radio operators. Anyone interested in getting more information about becoming an amateur radio operator can email the Mid-State Repeater Association at firstname.lastname@example.org, on the web at www.wrarclub.org or head to Facebook and check out Wood County ARES and the Mid-State Repeater Association’s pages.