Pictured: MIC Lisa Schmit, Observer Frank Luepke, DAPM Don Morin, KIWA Gen. Manager Walt Pruiksma.
Photo by Jill Mouw of KIWA
The sounds of celebration were in the air over Sheldon, IA on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011, as NWS Sioux Falls, SD Meteorolgist in Charge Lisa Schmit and Data Acquisition Program Manager Donald Morin arrived in town to present the John Campanius Holm Award to observer Frank Luepke.
Frank is a long time resident of Sheldon and was formerly an engineer, announcer, sales person and the general manager at KIWA Radio in Sheldon. Additionally, Frank is a respected leader in the community and played a key role in shaping the Sheldon community as it is today. With the help of his friends at KIWA Radio, Frank has kept a string of weather records which not only span his 25 years in our program. When he inherited the observing job, Frank also became the custodian of Sheldon weather records dating back to the 1890s. Those carefully hand written reports from so very long ago, proudly displayed for the visiting National Weather Service contingent, still remain in his custody. Also noteworthy is Frank’s willingness to share his weather knowledge with anyone who asks. He has been a featured speaker through the years at gatherings of all kinds. He is regarded as the local “weather expert.” Frank was once a guardian of the public safety and participated in skywarn activities during severe weather. In this role, he worked very closely with KIWA to keep the community and the National Weather Service informed.
On this special day, as we honored Frank with our second highest COOP award, we were in turn honored to kick off KIWA’s 50th anniversary celebration with our presentation to Frank. Walt Pruiksma, General Manager of KIWA Radio and Sheldon's EMA Director, invited us to make our award presentation “on-air” at the KIWA studios in downtown Sheldon. It was quite fitting to present our award at KIWA, where Frank worked and where the whole community could listen in on the presentation. KIWA was holding an open house as well, so the many visitors to the station had an opportunity to say hi and thank Frank personally. In addition to the whole community of Sheldon, Frank’s wife and two of their daughters were also present during the ceremony.
We had a grand time presenting the Holm Award to Frank and visiting with his family and friends. Frank told DAPM Don Morin he intended to remain our observer for a long time to come. Given his high level of dedication, we have no doubt we’ll be visiting Sheldon again in the near future.
For more information about the National Weather Service's Cooperative Observing program, click here www.crh.noaa.gov/fsd/