Recognizing 26 years of service to America, NOAA’s National Weather Service has named northwestern Morton County resident Byron Smith as a 2012 recipient of the agency’s John Campanius Holm Award for outstanding service in the Cooperative Weather Observer Program. This award was named in honor of John Campanius Holm, a Lutheran minister, who was the first person known to have taken systematic weather observations in 1644 and 1645 in the American Colonies. Each year, around 25 cooperative observers nationwide are honored with the John Campanius Holm Award for outstanding accomplishments in the field of cooperative observations. Larry Ruthi, Meteorologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Dodge City, presented the award to Mr. Smith at his farm on Wednesday, February 6th. Mr. Smith was also presented with congratulatory letters from U. S. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and U.S. Representative Tim Huelskamp. Also, in attendance from the National Weather Service were Meteorologist Tim Burke, Cooperative Program Manager Mike Scott and Observing Program Leader Jesse Lee. The observing site 10 miles west-southwest of Richfield was officially established in January 1941 by Byron’s grandfather, John Smith, Sr. Byron took over the site on August 7th, 1986 from his uncle, John Smith, Jr. and has reported daily precipitation and snowfall information to the National Weather Service since that time. The Smith family has recorded this information for 72 years.
Left to right are Tim Burke, Byron Smith, Larry Ruthi and Mike Scott. Photo by Jesse Lee