Menno, SD Cooperative Observer receives 2nd highest NWS Award
On a sunny mid September day there was no finer place to be than Menno, SD. That was the collective assessment of MIC Greg Harmon and DAPM Donald Morin from the Sioux Falls, SD office of the National Weather Service (NWS). Not only was it a beautiful autumn day in Menno, SD but it was to be a community event recognizing one of Menno’s own.
A life-long resident of Menno, James Schnaidt has been the official cooperative observer in Menno for the past 30 years. He has contributed to a 112 year history of weather observing at that location. MIC Greg Harmon presented Jim with the “John Campanius Holm Award”, the second highest award the National Weather Service presents to Cooperative Observers, for his dedication to the observing program and the unbroken chain of data that he has contributed to the climate database of our nation. The Mayor of Menno, Larry Tolzin was also on hand to honor Jim and to present him with a proclamation recognizing his long record of service to the community of Menno. A large constituent of friends and family joined in the celebration of Jim’s service to his community.
Through the years Jim had been involved in many community minded activities which included the City Council, the Retirement Center Board of Directors, and the School Board. Jim also spent time as an EMT on the Menno Ambulance. Not to mention his dedication to his church and family. He is a well known and respected member of this South Dakota community.
Jim took a liking to the idea of tracking weather statistics when he was a young man. Almost daily, he walked past the Cooperative Weather Station in the yard of neighbor Art Suess. Jim once told Art that he would be interested in assuming those observation duties one day. Art had been a long time observer himself and held on to the position until he reached his 50th anniversary as an observer before turning the duty over to young Jim. The station has been in Jim’s care since. The Menno site is one of our nation’s Historical Climate Network (HCN) sites and it is only through the dedication of Jim and his predecessors has this station maintained the HCN status.
The Menno, SD Cooperative Observing Site began in 1895 and has had seven observers in that time. The last 80 years the site has been watched over by two observers, of which the last 30 years were under the careful eye of James Schnaidt. We have enjoyed our association with Jim and hope there are many more years ahead. We at the Sioux Falls NWS Office are looking forward to celebrating with Jim again as the length of service awards reach 35 years, 40 years, 45 years, and like Jim’s predecessor Art, year 50! (Perhaps MIC Greg and DAPM Donald will get to spend another warm autumn day in Menno, SD).