April 15-21st, 2018 is National Volunteer Week in the United States. Time to thank the hundreds of thousands of individuals that donate their time for causes they believe in and are willing to work for. In Centralia, we are blessed with an amazing team of highly trained volunteers willing to support their community and the region where they call home. Being a volunteer, especially an ARES volunteer, is not easy at times. We work and train in bad weather, must spend our own money for equipment, vests, go-bags and radios, and always have to put up with cranky Emergency Coordinators. Lucky for us, we have the best looking volunteers anywhere!
All kidding aside, thank you for all the hours you spend to be proficient in your hobby and for being the kind of volunteer any community could be proud to have. Most of all, thank you for making what we do FUN.
Bob Willey, kd7own, Emergency Coordinator
Connecting the battery bank
It has truly been a sprint to the finish this week to get our newest ARES Comm Van ready for the Seattle Communications Academy display but we made it. Thanks to the amazing help from several dedicated volunteers, we completed all items on the punch list and did a final cleaning and fueling around 3:30 this afternoon.
This week, we completed final wiring on the battery bank and hookups to the radio systems, installed the final cabinet, flashlight and first aid kit holders, installed the mats, wired the driver’s compartment radio, installed the CB radio antenna and scanner, fueled and checked both vehicles, ran a test of the 8′ x 8′ pop up tent and performed a final cleaning – all that with about a third of the crew missing due to bad backs or commitments. We are, however, ready to head out Saturday morning (at 6:30am) to the Seattle Communication Academy where our comm van twins will be on display all day.
Clean and ready to go
Our travel crew will be Lyle, KB7PI; Paul, KE7PCB, John, AD6KT; and Bob, KD7OWN but we hope to see many of our team at the comm academy this year and many have offered to help with set up and display time. If you are planning on attending the 2018 Seattle Communications Academy, stop by our van display and say hello. We are proud of our vans and can hardly wait to show them off.
See you there!
Terry (left) and Matt working on Comm III
As the Centralia ARES team is nearing it’s completion deadline for our newest communications van, Comm III, we enlisted the capable help of the guys at the Centralia City Shop to help install the outside graphics on the van today. Terry, the shop supervisor and his able assistant, Matt, are a joy to work with. No matter the problem or issue, they are willing to help. Today, besides the graphics, they checked the battery system on the van and replaced a mirror.
The graphics package comes from Awards West Printware in Centralia and include 12 separate decals to cover both sides and the back doors. Each graphic has to be placed into its proper spot, leveled, and taped down. Once this is done, the backing is carefully removed and the decal is gently and SLOWLY smoothed out making sure no tiny bubbles show up. The shop had it all done in a little over two hours this morning. We treated them each to a $15 coffee card (probably not nearly enough for what they did) and thanked them as many times as we could.
With graphics installed, we’re down to hooking up the radio storage batteries, installing the overhead and desk lighting, and placing one last cabinet. We are getting so close, we can smell the finish line. We’ll have both of our communications vans, Comm II and Comm III at this year’s Seattle Communications Academy on Saturday, April 14th so be sure and stop by and say hello.