Soundout • February 20, 2009

Posted on 19 Feb 2009 at 5:52pm
By Praveen Sathianathan

5 questions with Bob Jackson


Bob Jackson is a member of several community emergency response teams in the Dallas area. Originally from California, he moved back to Dallas in 1988 after living in the city several times during his life. He served 12 years in the U.S. Air Force and one year in the Army National Guard. Now retired from the movie industry, he watches weather patterns over the Metroplex and monitors the changes.

What does your job as a severe weather storm spotter for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service entail?                                 

I set up a weather station, which consists of a wind indicator, thermometer, humidity and barometric pressure indicators and a rain gauge. The instruments help me take measurements and readings of the weather, which I then use to complete hourly, 12-hour and daily reports. I call in the information to the climate control center in Colorado every morning at 7 a.m. I had to get certified by also taking a course. With severe weather there are so many things to note. Only someone who is properly trained can do the job.  

Of the natural disasters you have helped with, what was the scariest?

The flood I worked was definitely the scariest. It was so unpredictable. In those situations you never know where the water is going to go. During the other events they had just occurred or had already happened, and I was involved with more of a recovery than during the actual event. The flood, however, was still occurring.

Talk about your experience volunteering with the Red Cross during Hurricane Ike.

I assisted the survivors at the convention center by trying to put some normalcy back into their lives. After Ike there was nothing left on Galveston Island. A lot of people there lost everything they owned.

Why do you continue to volunteer with community response teams for the Red Cross and F.E.M.A.?

I always tell people when they ask that someone needs to do it. Whether it is a natural disaster, man-made disaster or an accident. It may sound vain and egoistical but that is the reality of the situation. Otherwise fires would rage, people would drown and the country would be in a lot worse shape that what it is now.

Tell me what you do with Texas Gay Rodeo Association.

What appeals to me most about the TGRA is they are very successful at fundraising large amounts of money for different organizations. This year we have 10 beneficiaries. Within the organization, I assist with fundraising programs and I also help with the rodeos. After my neck injury I can’t take part in events such as roping, so I make sure the animals are in their stalls and no one is bothering them.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 20, 2009.

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