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Local radio club helps Florence victims

Members of the Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Assoc. say some local people have family members being affected by Tropical Depression Florence, and the association is doing everything to help those in need.

Posted: Sep 16, 2018 6:47 PM

GERMAN FLATTS -- Members of the Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Assoc. say some local people have family members being affected by Tropical Depression Florence, and the association is doing everything to help those in need.

A building in German Flatts houses the radio club that helps people in natural disasters. Club members say they started the disaster relief center after experiencing the grief of natural disasters themselves.

“We act as a relay point for families that are down south, and that have family up here, as a way of communicating between them because the cell sites are down in a lot of places,” said member Don Peterson. “The land lines are down. There’s no power, and it’s probably, in some cases, the only way they have ways of getting communication.”

The radio club has helped six victims of the tropical depression so far and plan to help many more. Members are currently working on turning the basement of the community center into a place where disaster relief victims seek shelter.

"This building's going to be used as a coordinating point for the state police, the fire department, the radios and everything so people in this area, not only German Flatts, the entire area can come here and have a communication point to relay messages," said Frank Spatto, Vice President of Friends of the Town Park.

The local organization, Friends of the Town Park, held a fundraiser, based on the Civil War, to raise money for the development of the center. All proceeds go toward the expansion of the center.

"We’re starting to have events and stuff just to support what we’re doing, and the thing is we’ve been very focused,” Spatto said. “The community has been supporting us too."

If you are interested in joining the Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Assoc., you can take a licensing course at the Towne Park community center in German Flatts, Tuesday at 6 p.m. The address to the center is 555 State Route 5s.

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