Larry with family and friends
(From left to right) Wayne Fogo, Dan and Sandy Franco, Steve and Larry, then Marcia and Bob Litzenberger
Larry Gillett of Burr Oak, Kansas was presented the U.S. Department of Commerce John Campanius Holm Award at a ceremony given in his honor on September 5, 2008. The Holm Award is the second most prestigious national award a Cooperative Weather Observer can receive. This award honors cooperative observers for outstanding accomplishments in the field of meteorological observations. The award is named for a Lutheran minister, the first person known to have taken systematic weather observations in the American Colonies. Reverend Holm made observations of climate without the use of instruments in 1644 and 1645. Normally, no more than 25 Holm Awards are given annually. An observer must have 20 years of continuous observations in order to be nominated for this award. However, it takes more than length of service as an observer to receive the Holm Award.
Larry started out by taking over the rain recording duties in February of 1988. He also voluntarily recorded unofficial high and low temperatures early on. In July of 2005, he agreed to take on the additional duty of recording daily temperatures when we could not find an observer in the Mankato area to record temperature data. It is rather ironic that the first observer for Burr Oak, Will Morton, recorded temperatures and precipitation. In 1958 when Gerald McMains gave up the duties, the temperature reading duties transferred to Mankato because no observer could be found in Burr Oak to record them, so it has come full circle.
Additional qualities Larry has demonstrated are:
An unbroken string of observations since February 1988.
In addition to keeping his own records, Larry would serve as the backup for the Mankato observer. While most people are lucky to find a backup in the same town, Larry gladly made the trip whenever he was needed. He also did his own temperature comparisons between the 2 towns with equipment he purchased himself, so there was no problem asking him to take over temperature duties. In addition to the normal temperature recordings at 7AM, Larry also provides us with a report of high and low temperatures at midnight. This is really above and beyond the call of duty. Larry is the only one we know who checks all the hourly readings every single day. He is very dedicated to providing correct information and truly loves being an observer.
Inclement weather has never prevented Larry from taking an observation. In fact, the worse the weather is, the more our office will hear from him. If there is ever a question about what the weather is doing or had done in Jewell County, we know we can rely on Larry.
In attendance at the ceremony were Larry Gillett, Sandra (sister) and Dan Franco, Marcia (sister) and Bob Litzenberger of San Francisco, CA, Wayne Fogo, Larry’s backup observer, Marla K. Doxey, Data Acquisition Program Manager and Steven Eddy, Meteorologist in Charge, both of the NWS Office in Hastings. A host of other family members and friends also joined in congratulating Larry on a job well done.
Following a history of the Cooperative Weather Program given by Marla K. Doxey, Steven Eddy presented Larry with the Holm Award and his 20 year Length of Service award. Letters of congratulations were also presented from Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, State Senator Janis K. Lee, Congressman Jerry Moran and Lynn Maximuk, Director of the National Weather Service Central Region Headquarters in Kansas City.
NWS Hastings Meteorologist in Charge Steve Eddy reading congratulatory letters to Larry
NWS Hastings Meteorologist in Charge Steve Eddy presents Larry with 20-year Length of Service Award
Thank you Larry!