Wednesday, January 17, 2018

SARC Pioneers Profiled


Mike Heritage VE7CLE (SK)


The initial Surrey Amateur Radio Club meeting, chaired by Doug Moore, VE7CBM, was held in September 1975 in a classroom at the North Surrey Senior High School. Doug was a teacher at the school and had graduated many new, young Hams from his annual courses. In attendance at this meeting were the founding member VE7's: Doug Moore CBM, Fred Orsetti CJG (now IO), Carl Bertholm CLC, Mike Heritage CLE, Mike Holley AVM, Cary MillerCFC (SK) Vic Medway CON (SK), Cecil Bogies YM (SK), Cory Galbraith CGR, Ken Clarke EZV (now BC), Ron Davies CBT, Ray Sims AXF, Bill Moore BGA, Wayne Horne CNJ, Bob Searle CHB, John Buchanan CTJ (SK), Jim Johnson CSJ (now VA7ET), Al Neufeld CDC, Bill Driscole ARL, Bren McCullough BGM, Lee Hopwood BDZ, Len TAM, and George Cruikshank (SK). Doug Moore was elected President. Mike became Secretary/Treasurer in 1977 and he remained in this position until 1980 he was a very active member of SARC. 

Mike's dad was an amateur radio operator and Mike and his dad spent many hours enjoying contacts on CW and SSB. Ham radio was something Mike thoroughly enjoyed especially the Field Day outings on top of McKee (Monkey) Mountain. The club purchased a generator, a 204BA monoband antenna, and went after first place in Field Day. In addition to finding time to operate the radios, Mike and his buddy Carl VE7CLC, became well known for their ability to provide the Field Day team with excellent food . I'm sure it was the food that helped move SARC into first place in Canada for several years. Mike always provided much fun, laughter and camaraderie during these outings. It was always a pleasure to work alongside Mike on the radio or setting up antennas. He consistently provided a positive approach. Mike was also an accomplished Harmonica player and provided entertainment at several SARC Christmas parties. Mike continued as an active member of SARC and was always ready to help with club projects or help any member who needed a hand.

In the 90's Mike was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and was forced to retire from his job. On his QSL card he proudly displayed the Parkinson's Logo and he became a very active member of the Parkinson's Society. This was typical of Mike, always helping others needing a helping hand. During the last few years Mike found it very difficult to operate his radio as his hands were not steady enough to handle the  microphone. Not to be deterred, Mike advanced to operating PSK-31 where he made many contacts, but eventually it became very difficult for Mike to continue with any type of radio communication. Mike was a close personal friend who freely gave his time whenever it was needed. 

His Parkinson's made it very difficult for him but he never gave up and for that I will always admire his endurance. Mike spent many hours discussing Parkinson's with my wife, who is also affected, providing her with information and support. My wife and I miss Mike very much and we both feel privileged to have known him for almost 40 years through the good and the difficult times.

I believe all who knew Mike and shared his love of life, the outdoors and amateur radio will agree he was a special person. Mike passed in May 2011 and at Mike's celebration of life memorial many guests paid tribute to his generosity and his warm personality. We take some comfort in knowing that Mike is at peace and free of the stresses associated with Parkinson's.

~ Fred Orsetti VE7IO



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