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SATERN Founder Pat McPherson, WW9E, SK


[UPDATED 2016-05-15 1949 UTC] Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) Founder and past National Director Maj Patrick E. “Pat” McPherson, WW9E, of Coloma, Michigan, died May 14 at Lakeland Medical Center in St Joseph, Michigan, where he’d been admitted on May 10 with breathing difficulties. He was 70. After serving as SATERN Director for more than 23 years, McPherson stepped down 5 years ago, although he reassumed the role in 2014-2015 on an interim basis. An ARRL member and a second-generation Salvationist, McPherson founded the disaster response and relief arm in June 1988 with one other US and two Canadian radio amateurs. Just 2 months after its founding, SATERN responded to provide communication between the US and Jamaica following Hurricane Gilbert.

SATERN became an official Salvation Army program 10 years later, in 1998, and Maj McPherson was formally appointed as its national director. Now an international organization with 4000 members in North America alone, SATERN is dedicated to providing emergency communication and other assistance following disasters and emergencies and has responded to natural disasters, fires, and air crashes. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, SATERN volunteers were on duty in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. SATERN volunteers work in cooperation with other organizations, including ARES, in responding to emergencies and disasters. The SATERN Net meets weekdays on 14.265 MHz at 1500 UTC.

McPherson served the Salvation Army as the Heartland Division Disaster Coordinator  (Central Illinois and Eastern Iowa) for 2 years, and as the Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division (Chicago and 11 surrounding counties) for 15 years.

“During my tenure in the Metropolitan Division, we were able to build a state-of-the-art disaster center, complete with a 60,000 square foot warehouse, docks, EOC, emergency conference area, training area, and communications, including amateur, commercial radio, satellite TV, and a sophisticated phone system,” McPherson recounted on his profile.

He had served earlier in non-disaster-related roles for The Salvation Army in Kankakee, Pekin, and Springfield, Illinois; Oskosh, Wisconsin; Marquette, Midland, and Flint, Michigan, and Dubuque, Iowa.

McPherson said he got into Amateur Radio as a way to stay in touch with family and friends throughout his various transfers around the Midwest. His wife, Carmella, is KB9YSQ, and his brother Larry is KA0QEO. He was also active in ARES, RACES, and SKYWARN. He was especially fond of operating CW. “It represents to me a challenge through the unknown, accomplished because I was motivated to become an Amateur Radio operator,” he said in his profile. “With retirement, I can now focus on the SATERN program, run CW from the field, and enjoy all of the friends made through the years via Amateur Radio.”

At the time of his death, McPherson was to be presented with The Salvation Army Certificate in Recognition of Exceptional Service — a national-level award acknowledging outstanding, distinguished and significant achievement in or for The Salvation Army. It will be awarded posthumously.

Services are set for May 21, 11 AM, at the Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home, 6548 Paw Paw Avenue, Coloma, Michigan. Memorials in Maj McPherson’s honor may be made to The Salvation Army. — Thanks to Bill Feist, WB8BZH, for some information 



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