(Pictured from left to right...Larry Wirth NWS Hastings, "Bud" and Luella Williams, Marla Doxey NWS Hastings, Steve Eddy Meteorologist-in-Charge NWS Hastings)
Udell "Bud" Williams of North Loup, Nebraska was presented the U.S. Department of Commerce Thomas Jefferson Award on August 25, 2008 at the NoLo Community Center in North Loup. The Thomas Jefferson Award, named after President Thomas Jefferson, is presented for unusual and outstanding accomplishment in the field of meteorological observations in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson, pioneer weather observer and third President of the United States. The inscription on the award read, "For extraordinary service in measuring temperature, rainfall, and snow depth from the historical climate site in North Loup, Nebraska. Your exceptionally complete set of daily records of nearly 40 years is a valuable resource to the Nation’s climate program as well as the Hastings, Nebraska National Weather Service Forecast Office."
The Thomas Jefferson Award is the highest and most prestigious award bestowed upon National Weather Service Cooperative Weather Observers. The award is normally given to no more than five observers across the nation per year. Candidates for this award must have also received the John Campanius Holm Award more than five years prior to being nominated for the Jefferson Award. The Holm Award is given to a maximum of twenty-five observers nationally per year. 2008 was a banner year for Nebraska's Cooperative Observers. Of six Jefferson Awards given nationally, three of this year's award winners were from Nebraska - Bud, Lester Stufft from Elsmere 9ENE, Nebraska and Daryl Obermeyer of Auburn, Nebraska. This is a truly remarkable feat that speaks highly of the dedicated volunteer spirit of Nebraska's Cooperative Weather Observers.
In attendance were Bud, his wife Luella and several family members and friends. Representatives from the National Weather Service included Steven Eddy - Meteorologist-in-Charge, Marla Doxey - Data Acquisition Program Manager and Larry Wirth - HMT from WFO Hastings, Nebraska. Bob Bonack - Regional Cooperative Program Manager from the NWS Central Region Headquarters Kansas City, MO and Terry Landsvork - Operations Program Leader, WFO Omaha/Valley, NE also represented the National Weather Service. Bonna Wanek - Director of Special Projects from the Office of U.S. Congressman Adrian Smith was also in attendance to present a letter of congratulations and certificate of recognition from Congressman Smith.
Letters of congratulation were also received from Governor of Nebraska Dave Heineman, U.S. Senators Ben Nelson and Chuck Hagel, State Senator Vickie McDonald representing Nebraska District #41 of the Nebraska Unicameral and Lynn Maximuk Director of the National Weather Service Central Region Headquarters in Kansas City. One of the highlights of the awards presentation was Bud's commissioning to the rank of Admiral in the "Great Navy of the State of Nebraska" by Governor Heineman. A very fitting honor for someone that has measured 989.54 inches (82.5 feet) of precipitation since October 1968, which is more than enough water to submerge a Nebraska Navy submarine or float a Nebraska Navy aircraft carrier.
As a National Weather Service Cooperative Observer (COOP), Bud has recorded over 14,000 daily weather observations of temperature, precipitation and snowfall data. This is a major part of a set of weather records that dates back to January 1, 1883 for North Loup. During his almost 40 years as a COOP Observer, records show that neither he or his backup observers have ever missed a daily observation since October 1968. It should also be noted that Bud's father, Bert, preceded him as the official North Loup observer in 1956, giving the Williams' family the distinction of 52 years of dedicated support to the climate program and near real-time weather reporting to the National Weather Service. Bud is also active in the North Loup community. He is still an active member in the North Loup Lion's Club where he participates in many of the club's service projects. He is also actively involved in his church, dedicating his time and talents in many capacities. In his retirement he has also worked as the maintenance person for the NoLo Village Retirement Center in North Loup. It should be noted that many from the North Loup community wrote letters of support for Bud as part of the selection process. We would like to thank those people for their support of Bud as well.
The nation owes a sincere debt of gratitude to the cooperative weather observers who have quietly and steadily built up what amounts to a priceless national treasure in the finest tradition of volunteer service to their country. The United States Government, National Weather Service and State Climatologist greatly appreciate this service and extend their congratulations to Mr. Williams for a job well done.
Thomas Jefferson Award
(From left to right Bob Bonack NWS Central Region COOP Program Manager, Bud and Luella, Terry Landsvork OPL, WFO Omaha/Valley, Nebraska)
Marla Doxey, DAPM WFO Hastings presents letters of recognition to Bud.
Bonna Wanek - From the Office of U.S. Congressman Adrian Smith presents letter of appreciation and certificate.
"In the Navy"