Gary Hartig - WØGAH (SK)
On April 27, 2022 we lost a great friend and fellow amateur radio operator. Gary was an avid communicator, and an essential part of our communications team. Gary was one of the founding members of the Muscatine County ARES team, as well as a member of the Muscatine Amateur Radio Club.
His previous callsign was KØWLC. Gary rose to the occasion and served MCARES as an AEC - Assistant Emergency Coordinator in Muscatine County, before taking on the position of EC - Emergency Coordinator in Cedar County where he resided (in Tipton, Iowa). He built a relationship with the Cedar County EMA office and was instrumental in some our our first, and biggest communications exercises. I still remember the day he brought up to me about doing the communications for the Great River Rumble. It was a huge undertaking, but Gary was right there helping put it all together right from the start, and then all the way to the finish.
The mission was a 5 day exercise to be accountable to the EMA departments down the Cedar, Iowa and Mississippi river keeping tabs on over 200 canoes and kayaks as they floated the rivers to their final destination in Burlington, Iowa. Gary was always the lead portable station and would attend their daily safety meetings before they are put their crafts in the water. He would hop scotch ahead of them once they all pulled out and be down-river to make sure they had safe passage to their next stopping point.
Gary was like that on all our exercises and contests. Often taking the "Graveyard" shift and holding things together overnight, and into the early morning hours. You could always count on Gary to be there, on the radio, taking care of business. He was a true pleasure to work beside and he will not be easily forgotten.
His background was in law enforcement and as a corrections, and his ex officer. His experiences in these fields made him a great communicator. He often took the radio console in the EmComm trailer when we had our annual Field Day in October and run the station to "talk in" attendees to the event. He was the guy that you never had to worry about making sure everything was done to his best ability. That's not all we will miss about Gary, it was his quick wit that you often remembered, and got a good laugh out of long afterwards. He was very good at taking a joke, but if you throw one his way, you better be ready to get it right back.
Even after his move the Central City, Iowa in December of 2021, he remained the President of the Muscatine Amateur Radio Club, and drove the distance to be there for his fellow ham radio operators.
Rest in Peace our friend, 73 Gary