The award is given annually by the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) to an amateur radio licensee who best exemplifies the principles of amateur radio.
Presenting the award during a ceremony at the Spartanburg Fairgrounds were James Boehner, N2ZZ, vice director of the ARRL Roanoke division, and Marc Tarplee, N4UFP, South Carolina section manager.
Nitsch, 92, is the only living charter member of the Spartanburg Amateur Radio Club that was founded in 1952. He has held every leadership position within the club and has held a permanent seat on the board of directors since the club’s founding. He is still an active member and has participated in every Field Day event.
Affectionately known as the “Godfather of Hams in Spartanburg County,” he has tutored and mentored, as well as given numerous radio tests, to most local Ham radio operators. He is an avid Morse code enthusiast.
Nitsch’s long tradition of service began before he was licensed. A native of Rochester, N.Y., he served in the U.S. Army during World War II, first as a Morse code instructor at Spartanburg’s Camp Croft and then as a communications officer in Gen. George Patton’s Third Army. For his exemplary service in Europe, he was awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Theatre Campaign Medal with four Bronze Service Stars and the Good Conduct Medal.
After the war ended, Nitsch returned to South Carolina and was licensed as W4NTO. He worked for WSPA Radio as an engineer for 10 years and then joined the Federal Aviation Administration at the Spartanburg Downtown Airport, where he remained until his retirement.
A life member of the ARRL, Nitsch has held appointments as an accredited official observer and as an official emergency station in the South Carolina Section. He has been interested in emergency communications since the 1950s and has a long history of service in that arena. He established the first Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for Spartanburg County and has been a member of the National Traffic System for almost 60 years. He was net manager for the emergency CW (Morse code) net.
Nitsch received many awards and recognitions for his years of devoted service to the community. In 1984, the American Red Cross recognized him with the Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Volunteer Service covering his more than 30 years of faithful service to the local Red Cross Chapter, during which he assisted in many local, state, and national disasters.
In 1988, the Roanoke Division of the ARRL awarded him the Vic Clark Award for his lifetime of contribution to the public through amateur radio. And in 1993, he received awards from two Sertoma Clubs for his service to Spartanburg.
The biographical information above was provided by Mark Thompson, N4TIR, of Spartanburg.
Article source: http://bit.ly/KZPn63