Author Don Keith, N4KC, and TV reporter and anchor Jackie Lukas are the recipients of the 2015 ARRL Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Award. Keith was recognized for an article on Amateur Radio, “Wave of Popularity,” that he contributed to American Legion magazine. A reporter and anchor for News 12 Long Island in New York, Lukas was honored for reporting the Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club’s activation of a lighthouse “in an uplifting and positive manner.” The ARRL Board of Directors named Keith and Lukas in January to receive the award.
The ARRL Bill Leonard Award honors up to three professional journalists each year for outstanding coverage highlighting the enjoyment, importance, and public service value the Amateur Radio Service has to offer. The award is a tribute to the late CBS News President Bill Leonard, W2SKE, an avid Amateur Radio operator and advocate. Each recipient will receive an engraved plaque, and a $250 contribution will be made in each of their names to the charity of their choice.
“I look forward to receiving the plaque and am very humbled by the award,” Keith reacted. He expects to attend a formal presentation at the Huntsville Hamfest in August. Keith said the American Legion’s national Amateur Radio club (K9TAL) is working to reach members who might be interested in Amateur Radio and “especially its public service aspects.” Keith has designated the Amateur Radio Advancement Group, which is affiliated with the Birmingham Amateur Radio Club, to be the beneficiary of his award. Keith is the author or co-author of more than 30 books.
Lukas responded, “Thank you so much! It’s such an honor. I’m glad you enjoyed my story just as much as I enjoyed covering it!” Lukas received the Leonard Award plaque at the March meeting of the Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club. She is a reporter and anchor for News 12 Long Island in New York.
ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, praised the efforts of media professionals who report on Amateur Radio activities. “We owe a lot to the journalists who highlight Amateur Radio’s capabilities to our communities and our country,” he said. “When Amateur Radio provides communication for a natural disaster or school contact with astronauts on the International Space Station, and the media covers that service, more and more people become aware just how much of a resource we are. The ARRL Leonard Award is our way of saying, ‘Thank you for telling our story.’”