Dean on March 8th, 2014

In January and February of 2014, South Carolina experienced a fair amount of ice and snow.  It caused school districts to be out for several days and caused businesses all across the state to shutdown.  As a member of the leadership team at ACS Technologies, I have always been infatuated with weather events.  I’ve sort of become the weather guy at the office.  I enjoy it.  So, as the decision approaches to close the office or not, I began to gather data.  I watch the weather reports from multiple stations, and visit several different websites.  I am on the email list for Florence County Emergency Management.  They do a fantastic job of disseminating information about an impending weather crisis.  I pull all that together in an attempt to help our executive team make a good decision about how the weather will impact office hours.  We want to be there for our customers so closing the office isn’t an easy decision.   

In January, We made the decision to close the office.  I found myself at home the next morning wondering if the decision was correct.  It’s hard to believe some of the news reports since they tend to embellish the small stuff.  Hmm… then I remembered.  Amateur Radio Operators funnel information to the National Weather Service during events like this.  Maybe, I can find one of their channels online somewhere.  My good friend and co-worker Dustin Fails ( KK4NFG) pointed me to the Online Feed from a local Radio Repeater located in Dillon.  Honestly, I think I listened to them all day long.  These guys would randomly call in reports about ice, snow, sleet, downed trees, loss of power, etc.  I was hooked.  I wanted to be a part of that.  But… I couldn’t.  I wasn’t licensed.

I immediately started asking questions of Dustin and Lloyd Mitchell (KO4L), a neighbor.  Dustin gave a me a book.  Lloyd gave me some pointers.   Dustin mentioned using an online study tool.  He suggested Ham Test Online.  I signed up and for the last month I have spent 30-45 minutes a night 5 nights a week studying…  I kept studying until I saw this screen.

technician finished

So I started looking for an exam site.  I found one in Florence but it’s in April.  I found one in Surfside Beach but it is also in April.  I found one in Camden… It was Saturday March 9th (today).   So… I started using practice tests online.  I wanted to KNOW that I was going to pass this test.   I took 12 of them to be SURE…. Here are my results.

technician practice exams

So, this morning, I rode to Camden.  Took the Technician test and missed one question.  You can miss 9 and still pass.  I’m happy.  I did well.  Now I wait until my license is in my hand and I can talk with other Ham operators around the area.  I’m an officially licensed Amateur Radio Operator (Technician Class).  I may go ahead and study for my next test which is called “General Class”.  So.. the next time a weather event happens around me, I’m prepared to particpate in the event by letting others know about the conditions in my area.    The way I see it…this helps everyone be better prepared.


Dean on February 18th, 2014

House of Hope of the Pee Dee

Tonight, I had the unique opportunity to stand beside Bryan Braddock, the Executive Director of the House of Hope of the Pee Dee, as he told his story.  Bryan’s Testimony is powerful and God has orchestrated the last seven years to use that testimony in a way that has changed and will continue to change hundreds, if not thousands of lives.   I have been allowed to be a part of that seven years and quite frankly it has been amazing to see the growth in Bryan and Tracey’s life and how God has made it all work.  I’m so thankful that they are able to stay with us in SC and even more excited that I get to work along beside of Bryan, as a board member, as he leads the House of Hope into the future.

Tonight, Bryan shared his story with the men of Christian Assembly Church in South Florence.  Bryan has experienced first hand what the House of Hope is about.  The House of Hope isn’t about a warm night’s stay, although that is offered.  The House of Hope isn’t about a hot meal, although those are provided.  The House of Hope isn’t about getting a job, although assistance is available.   The House of Hope is about taking a broken person in a bad situation, and channeling the people and services around them to restore that individual to a Christ-centered, contributing-citizen, with a permanent address who knows how to handle life and particularly money.    What is interesting is that this is exactly Bryan’s story.  No one can tell someone else’s story the way they can but I’ll assure you it’s his story.

There are men and women right now that need you.  The House of Hope will provide shelter, food, clothing, and counseling…. Will you help restore them in a way that one day they can tell their story?   If you would like for us to come talk to your group, just ask.  If your group is ready to work to restore others, just let us know.

Galations 6 says:

Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law.