March is the month Wellington began operating on its own, back in 1996.
The young municipality has always counted on residents to function: daily through government boards — and less frequently, during emergencies, through groups such as the Wellington Radio Club.
The club, which has 50 members, is part of the village’s emergency operations framework.
“They are available should all communications fail,” said Jesse Wright, Wellington’s operations supervisor. “When cell towers and satellite phones are down, that’s the one way we can always get the message out.”
On March 16 the club will show its skills in honor of Wellington’s anniversary by operating a shortwave station at Village Park.
The radio amateurs will inform their colleagues worldwide of Wellington’s anniversary and its evolution from farmland to a municipality of more than 55,000 people.
On the FCC call-sign, W4W, Wellington’s Mayor Bob Margolis at 3:30 p.m. will contact Mayor Celia Wade-Brown of Wellington, New Zealand, where the time will be 8:30 a.m.
When he was a councilman in 2003, Margolis spoke to Wayne Guppy, the mayor of Wellington, New Zealand, at that time, as part of the village’s dedication for its emergency operations center.
Shortly after it incorporated, the village formed the center, and its public works director back then, Ken Roundtree, put out a call for volunteers, said Larry Lazar, Wellington Radio Club’s president.
His group stepped forward, Lazar said.
The group has helped during several storms, including Hurricane Frances, when it got a television station to set straight incorrect reporting regarding the safety of the village’s water during a power outage.
“There were tens of thousands of mothers who were concerned about how to boil water for their children without electricity,” Lazar said of the misreported boil-water order. The corrected message “relieved a lot of stress,” he said.
Wellington Radio Club members will man their station from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Pavilion 3 in Village Park. The event includes entertainment for children, including a clown. From 2 to 3 p.m., demonstrations of competition-level, radio controlled race cars will take place.
Wellington incorporated on Dec. 31, 1995, and operations started March 28, 1996.