Without the help of more than 10,000 volunteers, the National Weather Service wouldn’t be able to make its daily predictions.
Each year, the NWS honors up to 25 volunteers with the John Campanius Holm Award. It is a way to show appreciation for the volunteers’ dedication in collecting weather statistics.
This year, Bartow resident Jason Bauserman has been nominated for the award by regional coordinator Andrew Beavers.
“The cooperative observation program is made of volunteers,” Beavers said. “It’s a national program run by the National Weather Service. The main purpose for it is to fill in climate gaps where ordinarily the only weather information you get is from airports. Observers like Jason fill in the gaps in between so we can make a more in-depth or more clear climate picture of the entire United States.”
Beavers works with 71 volunteer observers in his coverage area which includes parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.
Beavers selected Bauserman for the award – the second highest NWS award given – because of his dedication to collecting weather statistics as well as his dedication to his community.
While Bauserman has been keeping records for decades, he officially became a NWS volunteer in 1991 after meeting representatives from the NWS at the State Fair.
“Its made me feel real important,” Bauserman said of being selected for the award. “I just really have a passion for that and just really enjoy doing that.”
In his 25th year of recordkeeping, Bauserman has shared his observations with The Pocahontas Times on a monthly basis.
Beavers reiterated how integral the volunteer observers are to the NWS. Over the years, the NWS has consolidated offices, leaving more space between weather centers. Volunteers have helped close those gaps – gaps that Beavers is afraid will continue to grow as the federal government continues to consolidate offices.
“There are a few people in the government who want to make regional weather centers,” he said. “Instead of having offices in Pittsburgh, Charleston and Sterling, they want to do one in D.C., one in Chicago, one in Denver and then one in L.A., or something like that. A lot of us weather service guys are like ‘you can’t do that, we have local knowledge.’ We’re trying to keep the offices local, but the government is trying to save money and do these huge regional things.”
Beavers said if the offices became regional, he would have even less contact with his volunteer observers.
“I see [Bauserman] once a year – it would be forever trying to make it out here, especially if I was covering a region of five or six states,” he said. “We’ll see where that goes. It’s been shelved for now, but we’ll see. I think there’s a lot of push back because people kind of realize that you can’t do that with what we do.”
Beavers will submit information about Bauserman’s contributions as a weather observer volunteer.
Winners of the Holm Award will be announced in the summer.