John Bush of Hilo and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) have won the International Humanitarian Award for 2012 from the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). He will receive the official engraved plaque at the regular monthly meeting of the Big Island Amateur Radio Club (BIARC) at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Keaau Community Center.
Bush, founder of Advanced Management Systems, a local technology and management services company, is known on the Big Island for his community service outreach and boundless energy, traits he has taken along with him into the far reaches of the less-populated Pacific Ocean, specifically on Federai, Ulithi Atoll and Falalop, Woleai Atoll — both in the State of Yap, FSM.
He has set up amateur radio — also known as ham radio — facilities there and taught residents how to operate and get licensed to use the communications equipment. Like most islands in Micronesia, Ulithi and Woleai Atolls have no telephone, television, Internet or satellite communications. He has pushed to provide computers where computers never have been before.
A Rotarian, Bush “has always been a tireless and selfless worker for the kids and the schools,” said Charlene Meyers of the Rotary Club of Volcano. “He then transferred this energy to Federai and working with Rotary clubs and Rotary International to secure a grant in the amount of nearly $22,000 to furnish a dispensary.
“We are proud to call him a Rotarian,” said Meyers.
BIARC and the ARRL also are proud to call Bush a member.
Earlier this year, at its annual meeting in New Orleans, the ARRL Board of Directors voted unanimously to honor Bush with the international humanitarian award.
“It is important to recognize those who have used amateur radio to provide emergency communications on an international level,” the board noted in an official resolution. “… John Bush, KH6DLK/V63JB (his ham license call signs in the U.S. and Micronesia) has been instrumental in promoting the development and welfare to the population of the Island of Federai in the Ulithi Atoll of the Federated States of Micronesia (and) he continues his efforts, including development of electronic infrastructure on the island, including electronic technologies and amateur radio.”
In establishing the award, ARRL leaders noted that amateur radio “is the only medium where average people throughout the world can meet to talk to each other and spread goodwill across otherwise impenetrable political boundaries,” and that “the world is in need of positive efforts toward international understanding and peaceful communications.
“(This honor) is to be awarded to truly outstanding amateur radio operators in areas of international humanitarianism and the furtherance of peace.”
In furtherance of the personal cause of the residents of Federai, Bush is tireless. Following visits to Hilo, Bush has lugged dictionaries purchased by Rotarians and personal hygiene supplies and ham radio and computer equipment donated by BIARC members back to his second home in Federai.
A total of 360 dictionaries funded by his late mother, Elizabeth Bush, were presented to Yap State outer island students and teachers.
Hawaii hams have been recruited to help the flow of communications and training to and from this section of the Pacific.
Bush was nominated for the humanitarian award by Robert Schneider, the ARRL Pacific Section manager and a BIARC member.
“At the island where John teaches part of the time, he reports that many of the children don’t have basic hygiene material, even toothbrushes. Power comes from a solar farm and is limited,” said Schneider in his nomination letter to the ARRL board. “BIARC put together care packages and along with low-power-consumption computers, amateur radio equipment and other badly needed supplies, has assisted John in getting and delivering these supplies.”
“I recommend John Bush …,” wrote fellow BIARC member Richard Darling. “He is very bright and observant; when he sees a problem, he fixes it.”
“We feel that John deserves to receive the Humanitarian Award for 2012,” wrote BIARC President Barbara Darling. “We know that he is going to continue to assist these people in any way that he can, and has a way of convincing others to assist, too.”
Tom English of Volcano, treasurer of W.H. Shipman, has known Bush for more than a half a century. He praised his fellow ham for a lifetime of exemplary civic-mindedness. In his letter to the ARRL board, English wrote, “In addition to private sector clients, John has been active with community associations and public charter schools. In addition, he has been coaching high school athletics. He has a strong sense of community service and he strives to implement solutions that are very cost-effective.”