As Cooperative Program Managers, awards presentations for Cooperative Weather Observers (CWOs) are our most gratifying experiences. These awards are given in recognition for either of two categories; "length of service" or "in recognition of one or several especially significant achievements". We consider this a very "small" way of recognizing the volunteer observers for their important contributions to the nation.
Below is a list of definitions for the types of awards given to CWOs annually:
Thomas Jefferson Award - the highest and most prestigious award for Cooperative Weather Observers. This award is named for our third President, who also kept a nearly unbroken series of weather records from 1776 to 1816. Usually given to no more than five CWOs annually, for outstanding and "unusual"achievements.
John Campanius Holm Award - granted each year to a maximum of 25 CWOs for outstanding accomplishments. This award is named for a Lutheran minister who was the "first" person known to have taken systematic weather observations in the American Colonies in 1644 and 1645.
Special Service Award - given by the local National Weather Service (NWS) office to observers as an expression of appreciation for special services rendered by either an individual observer or organization.
Public Service Award - one step above the Special Service Award. This award may be given when an observer has been considered to have undergone reasonable risk to their life or safety to report rainfall, river stages, or during the course of severe weather. For example, they contributed data which resulted in the issuance of life saving warnings by the NWS, i.e. a river nearing bankful, or funnel cloud.
Letters of Appreciation - sent to observers by the NWS official to express sincere appreciation for consistently good or above average services rendered.
Earl Stewart Award - presented to observers for 75 years of service. This award was named for Mr. Stewart, and observer in Cottage Grove, Oregon, who completed 75 years of service in 1992. Since that time, three additional observers have eclipsed the 75 year mark.
Ruby Stufft Award - given to observers having completed 70 years of service. Named for Mrs. Stufft of Elsmere, Nebraska who reached this milestone in 1991. She was the first woman observer to reach the 70 year landmark. Only five others have accomplished this feat, however, an additional observer is nearing this performance, and should achieve it in 2001.
Albert J. Meyer Award - a 65 year performance award. Mr Meyer was an observer in Eagle Pass, Texas, who later became the Chief of the Signal Service. The Signal Service was the precursor for the old Weather Bureau, which later became today's National Weather Service.
Helmut E. Landsberg Award - provided to observers completing 60 years of service. Mr. Landsberg was the person responsible for establishing the nationwide climatological network as it exists today.
Benjamin Franklin Award - given to cooperative observers for 55 years of service. In addition to his more historic achievements, Dr. Franklin, as U.S. Postmaster instructed other Postmasters along the eastern seaboard to record the weather. Compilation of these records showed storm movement.
Edward Stoll Award - named for a legendary observer from Elwood, Nebraska who was invited to the Oval Office by then President Jimmy Carter. Mr Stoll recorded weather data "without interruption" for 76 years, which is considered the record for service longevity. An observer would have to complete 50 years of service to receive the Stoll Award.
General Length of Service Awards - although somewhat lacking in longevity as the other more prestigious awards above, are significant accomplishments as well. They are rewarded to individual observers after completing 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years length of service. In should also be mentioned that Institution Awards are given for 25, 50, 75, 100 and 125 years of service.
We invite you to view some recent award winners within the Philadelphia/Mount Holly region by clicking the AWARD RECIPIENTS NAME listed below. Please check this site occasionally as additional observers are added through the year.
Cyane Gresham, SPECIAL SERVICE, Rodale Institute, Kutztown, PA.
Wayne Roop, 25 YEAR LENGTH OF SERVICE, Cape May, NJ.