This year marks the 30th year of SATERN service. It is historic in many ways...not just longevity. But I want to talk about more than heritage. I want to talk about the future.
I am a Christian, and serve as a volunteer in SATERN as part of that expression of my faith. Everywhere in the Bible, God starts something that continues to this day. Adam and Eve, Moses, Abraham, David, you name it. These are people that introduce us to spiritual concepts that still exists today. That is the business God is in – eternity.
I think about SATERN and the 30 long years volunteers have stepped up to be there in crisis and to fill a need. How is that legacy to continue?
For any lasting effort to be sustained it requires a few important aspects that fortunately are common in ham radio.
We must be willing to perform the service needed. Acts of kindness are good, but usually are not sustained when solicited or coerced. The giver must be willing to give. As hams, we are prone to give of our talent to help others. SATERN IS an all volunteer organization. The very definition of willingness is to step up and volunteer. I like to think that SATERN volunteers are among the most willing of all in ham radio, giving when and where it is need.
The dictionary uses words like: strict adherence to promises, duties, rules or traditions; loyalty; accuracy, exactness. I think the emphasis here should be on adherence to duties and promises. In some of his original writings, Maj. Pat McPherson expressed his desire for ham radio to be a distinct value to the Emergency Disaster Services of The Salvation Army. That was the goal. It most certainly is still is one of the goals we strive for in SATERN now and in the future.
But as volunteers using such a technological service as ham radio, we must also be very aware of the future. Just as my Christian Faith is perpetuated long past the beginnings, we as hams must find ways to perpetuate our usefulness into the future of SATERN in order to be relevant. So how do we do that?
Sad to say, none of us will live forever. That is a given. Eventually, ham radio will see us as a silent key.
It is also an eventuality that nothing stays the same...all things change.
For over 100 years Salvationists have preached in churches all over the world. The Salvation Army is not the same organization started in the streets of London all those years ago. It is much larger and more diverse than even it’s founder even imagined. Nor is the Emergency Disaster Services Division of TSA. It too, has undergone many changes over the years since the beginnings.
So too must SATERN embrace change in our future. Since we are technology driven (as a hobby) we will have the need to embrace new and innovative technological tools created and used by hams. Visionaries like Dave Freese, W1HKJ and author of FLDIGI, FLMSG, FLAMP and more is one of the tools we use in SATERN as part of our service on the SATERN International Digital Net.
If you are familiar with the stories of the Bible you already know that longevity depends on youth. Disciples were taught and allowed to bring their message to others. Bringing in new, young hams and training them to be good hams, good volunteers in the spirit of ham radio and the amateur creed, and great citizens is inseparable with our future and longevity. The ARRL has known this on a general basis for decades, and has created a program to not only foster new hams, but help educate young minds to look into the future to see what ham radio will be.
We too must mentor hams who show an interest in volunteer efforts to be better hams, better servers, and better citizens. The future of SATERN depends on it. We are not talking just about the SATERN International group. But local and regional volunteers as well.
As a Christian, I am motivated by my desire to let the Spirit of God use my talent as a radio operator to be of service to a worthy organization. This may not be the motivation of other volunteers who are interested in volunteering for SATERN. There must be some motivating factor for them to help us sustain the future of SATERN.
We must think on these things for 2018. Just showing up for nets is not enough. You can be a part of our future by fostering the volunteer spirit in local hams willing to give of themselves and their hobby to help. We have to think in terms of creating and building our organization from local, and regional groups to make a cohesive organization with national importance. We will never reach the goal of service to EDS if we do not have the factors mentioned above, in our local organizations.
Make this your goal for 2018.