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Breaking Big Rocks Into Small Rocks

Big Island ARRL News, 24 March 2017, 16:05 hrs, UTC, Post #154.


Accessed on 24 March 2017, 16:05 hrs, UTC.

Author:  Darren Holbrook (KH6OWL), ARRL PIO-Honolulu.


Darren Holbrook (KH6OWL) sent me this excellent article about how Oahu Ham Radio Operators and U.S. Marine Corps volunteers helped a resident clear her property in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Darby which struck Oahu in July 2016.  When the state and insurance companies couldn’t help this Oahu resident, she turned to ARRL Pacific Section Manager Joe Speroni (AH0A) for help.  Joe put out a call to some of his friends, and the result was a group of U.S. Marines that helped clean the property and haul away boulders and other trash caused by the storm.  The marine volunteer group included two radio amateurs–Lt. Joshua Zane (WH6EYT) and LCpl Joran L. Ussel (KC3GZT).

Her are the complete text and photos from that volunteer effort:

Breaking Big Rocks into Small Rocks

Sunday March 20, 2017. Oahu, HI

The Pacific Section Manager put out a call for assistance from the Red Cross and it was quickly answered. The call went out by the Red Cross and the Hawaii Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster, VOAD, to the ARRL Pacific Section Manager. The call was answered by some young Marines and Ham Radio Operators who could provide assistance to a homeowner who had a landslide come into her yard with Tropical Storm Darby hit Oahu in July 2016 causing a Landslide in Moanalua Valley.


During the night that Tropical Storm Darby hit Oahu (7/25/16), a landslide occurred into homeowner’s back yard destroying the perimeter rock wall and the block wall defining the back lanai. The slide stopped short of penetrating the bedroom wall but did destroy the lanai wall and roof. The homeowner’s Allstate Homeowner’s policy apparently doesn’t cover this since the slide did not penetrate the house. The US Navy owns the hillside but will not help until a tort claim is filed and they are found legally liable. The tort claim requires an insurance estimate but the insurance company is lacking in assistance since the damage in not covered. The homeowner spoke to the City & County Department of Emergency Management but was told that they could not help. Running out of options the Red Cross and VOAD contacted the ARRL Pacific Section Manager to see if he could provide any assistance. Joe Speroni, AH0A, reached out to his contacts within the community whom he thought might be able to proved the needed assistance.

Major Mark Gilden, the Divisional Secretary for Business & Disaster Services Coordinator of The Salvation Army, Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division, had been working hard with his staff to assist this homeowner but simply needed more hands for the big job.
Major Gilden stated; “My maintenance crew has been busting up the boulders with an expandable grout.  We had to stop to work on other projects.  The passageway from the carport to the back yard and landslide debris is only about 4-5 feet wide so we can’t get a bobcat back there.  It has to be loaded by hand and hauled out via wheelbarrow to a dumpster on the street at the end of the driveway. It would take a 4-person crew about two days to clear it all.”
Hauling Rocks
Passing Rocks to the dumpster

Lt Joshua Zane, WH6EYT, stated “Our Marines are skilled at turning big rocks into smaller rocks as well as picking up heavy things and putting them back down again.We would be most responsive on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon as Uncle Sam is certain to get his time out of us during the weekdays.”

The Marines issued a COMREL, Community Relations, request via the Marine Community Relations Program asking for volunteers to assist and give up their time off on a weekend. The call was answered without hesitation. The COMREL asked for 4 to 6 volunteers and 9 signed up including two current HAM operators: Lt Zane, (WH6EYT) and LCpl Jordon L Ussel, (KC3GZT).

Back Breaking Work!

Lt Zane stated, “The homeowner was very grateful for the Marines that came to volunteer their Sunday. The Marines spent the day breaking up boulders with sledge hammers, and moving approximately 35,000 lbs of rock and concrete to fill the 10 yard dumpster.” The homeowner was gracious enough to provide drinks and pizza for the volunteers after a morning of heavy lifting.

Approximately 35,000 lbs of rocks and concrete


Stacy Holbrook
ARRL Public Information Officer – Honolulu

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Aloha es 73 de

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM0

Public Information Cooridinator

Hawaii Island, ARRL Pacific Section