Randy ‘Doc Randy’ Oakes, W4EMS
Randy ‘Doc Randy’ Oakes, W4EMS 2000 – December 2003
Doc Randy assumed the reins of the ARES group which Gene started. He was present at the kickoff meeting held at the Admin Complex and guided a loosely organized ARES group. The group began weekly nets on the 145.21 repeater, owned by a Nashville ham, Ed Hodges, N4ARK. On a good night there would be six or seven check ins.
A realignment of county offices led to the Department of Emergency Communications being separated from the Department of Emergency Management. Doc Randy had a meeting with the head of this new department, Bill Jorgensen and discussed with him the potential of Amateur Radio operators being available to him in case of an emergency. These talks convinced Bill that he should get his ham license, now K4COM, and work with Doc Randy and the fledgling ARES group.
We had a cadre of operators who had been practicing net procedures, but we did not have any repeaters of our own. Doc got Bill Jorgensen and Ed Hodges together, and they agreed that the county would purchase Ed’s 145.21 repeater so we would have our own repeater to provide dedicated radio coverage for the ARES group. This purchase was a milestone in the progression of WCARES. Bill realized that Amateur Radio was an excellent way to provide reliable backup communications in the county. He put a request in his 2003 budget for money to buy three new repeaters as well as new equipment for the 145.21 repeater. These four linked repeaters would be owned and maintained by the county but were available to the amateur community for daily use. In case of an emergency the WCARES members could now respond and be able to provide reliable emergency communications from anywhere in the county. At the same time Bill was also having a new 911 Center built, and he included a fully equipped Amateur Radio station, WC4EOC.
Doc Randy shares that along with Bill, he was also blessed with a growing group of highly motivated and super talented members who were well poised to continue WCARES when job and other responsibilities required him to step down as head of the ARES group.