A.E. Hansen III sent us this very entertaining story, about how he found out about Ham Radio, ARES and, by extention, this website. Enjoy!
Recently, I encountered the ARES which led me to your site.
I was driving along a few icy patches of road when I got t-boned by a tanker truck who was unable to stop after hitting a patch of ice. He wasn’t carrying anything but since the truck was now jacknifed across both lanes it caused quite a problem. Now, I crawled out of my vehicle and went over to the truck driver, and we called the police to report the accident. Within a few minutes a patrol car pulled up followed by the most bizarre site I have ever seen. There, in all it’s glory, was a genuine, official ARES vehicle, lit up like a Christmas tree, with more antenna than an insect orgy. After taking down the report, the police officer went back and sat in his patrol car awaiting the arrival of the wrecker needed to move the truck, and the flatbed to take away my car. The truck driver, and I were exchanging information, and a few of the locals had come out to offer some coffee, see if we needed anything etc. The “official” ARES person, guy, fellow, whatever, immediately jumps into action telling people to back up, that this is a very dangerous situation. I proceeded to inform him that the small piece of debris stuck into the grill of the truck was indeed my vehicle, and I had not recovered all of personal belongings yet. His response was that he was an “official” ARES something or other and that I needed to heed his warnings.
He proceeded to show me his identification cards, and HAM license etc. to which I showed him my Bass Pro Shops Outdoor rewards card, which seemed to aggravate him even more. He started yelling and fussing about something, I really started to get angry. I should mention that I am 6′ 300lbs with three tours of duty in the middle-east and this fellow was about 1 foot tall and about 99 pounds including all his radios, bat belt and tactical vest. Around this time the police officer, seemed to sense that I was about to pound this guy into oblivion, got out of his patrol unit and walked over asking who he was. To which the ARES fellow responded with the same nonsense he had spewed to me. Another patrol car pulled up and the officer hopped out and asked, verbatim:
“What the fu– is that thing?” Pointing to the ARES mobile. The ARES guy went to his spiel again after which he asked to leave, to which he said he had some sort of aggreement with the State Police, the officers responded with telling him that they would more than happy to call the State Troopers to come pick him up after they brought him back to the station house. The ARES dude, then huffed and puffed about legal ramifications and then got into his “emergency vehicle” and drove off.
I was a radio operator in the miltary, and only discovered well after I was out of the military that you actually needed a license to talk on a radio. We always just picked a freq no one was using, and if they had a problem with it, well tough, we have a HMMV, with a MK19 on the roof. It wasn’t until this incident that I found out that HAMs are some sort of valuable asset to the emergency services and the Department of Homeland security. Thank you ARES you provide an invaluable service.