WTVC NewsChannel 9 :: News – Top Stories – Pay It Forward: Jeff Martin, Ham Radio Hero

Updated:Tuesday, October 14 2014, 09:13 PM EDTPay It Forward: Jeff Martin, Ham Radio Hero. When natural disasters strike conventional means of communication can often fail.For more than 100 years a special group of hobbyists, affectionately called “Hams,”  have used amateur radio to help others in need.This week’s Pay it Forward starts in North Chattanooga, a little over a month after Hurricane Odile made landfall on Mexico’s Baja, California, peninsula.Lanette Stratton recalls the fear she felt when the massive storm slammed into the coast on September 14th, 2014, carving a wide path of destruction through the town of Pescadero.Lanette tells me, “My mom was house sitting down there. She’s still down there. Several days went by, of course, she had no way to reach us and let us know whether she was alright or not, so my dad suggested that I call someone with ham radio.”    She describes those agonizing hours saying, “We were pretty frantic, not knowing whether or not mom could be laying there hurt and not be able to reach help, not knowing if she was alive or dead.”Desperate for answers Lanette reached out to Chattanooga Ham Radio President, Jeff Martin.”Within an hour he had called me back and he had already been in touch with someone down there… As it turned out my mom was fine. She got word through another stranger once they got through to where there was cell phone service they contacted me and let us know she was okay.” She goes on to say, “I called and asked him if there was some way we could repay him for his time and his effort and he said, ‘no, this is what we do, help people in distress and need.'”Today Lanette and one of her four sisters get the chance to thank their hero.Jeff walks in to a north Chattanooga business where other ham operators are meeting and is greeted by an unfamiliar face.Lanette walks toward him and says, “It’s nice to meet you, finally.”She introduces herself and he replies, “It’s nice to meet you, as well. What a surprise!”Lanette laughs and says, “Yeah. I was hoping to surprise you… You did a wonderful thing trying to make contact with my mother and I just wanted to thank you for it. You wouldn’t take repayment, so on behalf of McMahan Law Firm and NewsChannel 9 I’d like to Pay it Forward.”As she counts out the cash he tells her, “Thank you. you don’t have to do that. Thank you so much.””Our family really appreciates you,” she assures him.I ask Jeff how he felt knowing that he’d helped the family find peace.”I was brought to tears, I really was. It’s a mission for me as it is for many hams. When someone calls and requests help that’s when we jump into action.”Jeff exudes the Pay it Forward spirit saying with a smile, “It just gives you the opportunity to meet a lot of folks you might not put a face with, but sometimes we do, and to help your fellow man – that’s what I enjoy.” To learn more about the Chattanooga Amateur Radio Club, you can click the link to see the group’s Facebook page.

via WTVC NewsChannel 9 :: News – Top Stories – Pay It Forward: Jeff Martin, Ham Radio Hero.


Heartwarming story of how amateur radio kept a family together after a hurricane.  Chattanooga Amateur Radio Club President, Jeff Martin, was able to help Lanette Stratton find her mother, who was housesitting in the Mexican town of Pescadero when Hurricane Odile struck the Baja Peninsula.  Matin was able to find out that Lanette’s mother was alive and had survived the storm in good condition.  Lanette and members of her family thanked Martin for his efforts at the next meeting of the Chattanooga Amateur Radio Club.  Martin told TV station WTVC that “It just gives you the opportunity to meet a lot of folks you might not put a face with, but  sometimes we do, and to help your fellow man–that’s what I enjoy.”  Well said–humble, direct, and honest.

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Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

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