On September 1, 2012, the EAS community lost one of its stalwart leaders, Ann Arnold, Texas State EAS Chair and President of the Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB) for the past 25 years. But Ann’s leadership reached far beyond the state of Texas, as she engaged the FCC, FEMA, and emergency management leaders across the country. She was famous in EAS circles for the much-needed EAS surveys she and her staff conducted of all 50 states in order for us all to have a better picture of the status of emergency alerting nationwide. She was active on the national scene in activities including co-chairing an annual EAS National Summit sponsored by the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (NASBA), and serving on the FCC’s Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee (CMSAAC), which was responsible for developing recommendations on technical standards and protocols for the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS). True to form, along with her State Emergency Communications Committee, she already had a completed draft of an updated Texas State EAS Plan incorporating the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) – well ahead of most other states.
One of Ann’s greatest causes was educating and encouraging emergency managers to use EAS. Although she couldn’t perform miracles and make everyone see the value of EAS, her efforts continued year after year. I had the honor of being invited to give a presentation on EAS/CAP at last month’s TAB Annual Convention. Ann was as animated as ever during my session. Later in the day, she hosted local emergency managers in a session to talk with them about their emergency alerting needs and how EAS can help – ever continuing her crusade to win over emergency managers on the advantages of using EAS. Ann never gave up on this valiant cause; she is an exemplary EAS leader we can all emulate.
One month ago today I was heading home from the TAB Convention with an award plaque Ann gave me and others for our voluntary work helping to develop the EAS-CAP Industry Group (ECIG) Implementation Guide adopted by FEMA as part of approving CAP for use in EAS; Ann was ever thinking of others and acknowledging their contributions to EAS. That’s why I’m glad I was able to attend the 2007 TAB Convention when Ann was honored with TAB’s first Lifetime Achievement Award; I’m glad I was able to stand and applaud this woman along with the roomful of other broadcasters that appreciated her dedication to our industry.
Ann’s importance in Texas is borne out in the Memorial Service being held for her later this month in the Senate Chamber at the Texas State Capitol. My thoughts are with Ann’s executive assistant Anna Romero, and with Oscar Rodriguez, TAB’s former VP and now stepping into Ann’s shoes as TAB President. I’m sure they would both agree that Ann will live on as an inspiration to all of us to never give up in the pursuit of our passions.
Job well done, Ann Arnold.