I enjoyed the article on the Ham Radio activity within certain American Legion posts. The very day that my Legion Magazine arrived in the mail I had just come from a meeting at our Arizona State Veterans Home in Tucson where I am a volunteer. On Super Bowl Sunday our volunteer group puts on a “tailgate party” in the Veterans Home recreation room.
While serving snacks and drinks to the residents I took a break to visit with the folks at a number of the tables. Frank Hegewald, US Army Signal Corps, related to me that he would like our volunteer group to purchase a ham radio for him and others in the 120-bed facility to use “for old times sake”. He also thought a radio and antenna system would cost $5,000. I reminded this wheelchair bound veteran that our group raises money $50 at a time from Legion posts and elsewhere.
On my way home that day it struck me that local ham radio clubs may want to help us out. So after being inspired by your March article, I emailed three area ham clubs. The Oro Valley Amateur Radio Club immediately responded positively. We met with the recreation director of the home, Sam Nanez, and set a date of March 26 for the club to string up a temporary antenna and set up a multi-band radio for Hegewald and any other residents who may want to “CQ” to their hearts content.
On the day of the event four members of the Oro Valley Amateur Radio Club showed up early, got set up and residents Frank Hegewald and Sandy LaCosse, US Army, got in on the action. Korean War veteran Willie Howle showed up to observe. They swapped stories with the ham club members and each other. It was a wonderful cacophony of squelch, squawk, talk and laughter. The club members went on line for Frank to renew his amateur radio license.
Please give a shout out to my Post, American Legion Tucson Mountains Post 102 and the Oro Valley Ham Radio Club, Oro Valley, AZ. I am past commander, chaplain and finance officer of the post.