National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Long-Time Cooperative Observers Receive Thomas Jefferson Award, Visit Weather Office

Volunteer cooperative observers use thermometers and rain gauges to report observations to the NWS every day, rain or shine, and often call to report significant weather during critical situations--and they do it all without pay. In December 2004, the National Weather Service office in Huntsville honored two long-time observers. Then in late December, Huntsville staff members took time out to listen to some of the stories our observers have to tell.

On December 8, 2004 Mr. James McCravy was presented the Thomas Jefferson Award for 2004. The award was presented by WFO Huntsville Meteorologist-In-Charge (MIC) John Gordon.

Mr. McCravy has been a cooperative observer for 43 years. He began his career in Bessemer, Alabama and has been the cooperative observer in Hanceville, Alabama (Cullman County) since April 1, 1973.

Then, on December 9, 2004, Mr. William Crow was also presented the Thomas Jefferson Award for 2004. The award again was presented by WFO Huntsville MIC John Gordon.

Mr. Crow has been a cooperative observer for 42 years at Valley Head, Alabama (DeKalb County). Mr. Crow continues the tradition of critical daily weather reports from the oldest coop site in the WFO Huntsville area of responsibility. The Valley Head coop site was established June 1, 1885.

Finally, on December 30, MIC John Gordon (second from left), Cooperative Program Manager Lary Burgett (far right), and student intern Holly Allen (not pictured), met with Mr. McCravy (far left) and Mr. John Kelly, who won the Jefferson Award in December 2003. Mr. McCravy and Mr. Kelly toured our office and sat down to relate their weather experiences to us. They explained how they each became COOP observers and the changes in weather equipment they have used over the past 45 years. They gave detailed accounts of tornado sightings, fog events, ice and snow storms, heat waves and droughts, and even tropical systems that have affected the Tennessee Valley. It was a pleasure to meet with two of the people that have efficiently helped contribute to our local weather records.