When nature turns cruel, AMA supports its clubs.
For chartered clubs that suffer damage to their sites through natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquake, fire, or similar catastrophic events, AMA, through support from the AMA Foundation’s Club Support Fund, offers limited financial assistance (up to $500 per incident) for repairs needed to make the damaged flying site accessible and usable to club members.
In 2020, AMA and the AMA Foundation were able to provide $6,500 in Disaster Relief Grants to 13 clubs around the country, helping them restore their flying sites.
The Cedar Rapids Skyhawks and the Bay Area Radio Control Society were two clubs who received a Disaster Relief Grant this year. Read below to learm more about how AMA's grant assisted their repair efforts.
On August 10, 2020, a storm rolled through Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This was not just any storm, but one that is called a Derecho. This rare storm had straight line winds in excess of 120 mph as it flattened trees and buildings in its path. The City of Cedar Rapids had a significant amount of damage and very few people in the area came out of it unscathed.
The Cedar Rapids Skyhawks field has [been] through quite a few storms without any significant issues. There are no buildings, and our runway is a Petromat surface that usually stands up well to the wind. This storm was not like the others though, and our runway sustained quite a bit of damage.
The flight stands were gone, blown across the field and [broken] up as they tumbled away. The port-a-potty had broken free and [...] tore down some chain link fence. On its journey, it caught the Petromat and tore it up enough for the wind to take hold. Once the wind caught the mat, it ripped up large chunks, exposing the surface underneath to the wind and rain.
There was much work to do to get the field flyable again. To complicate matters, most of the club members had significant damage at their homes [...] and were without electrical power for days after the storm. The club’s biggest event of the year, Warbirds Over Iowa, was scheduled to take place in a little over two weeks.
I remembered that AMA had a program for club disaster assistance, so I decided I’d apply for a grant. I sent in the application three days after the storm, and we had approval and a check for $500 in less than a week. The money helped us to buy needed supplies and also served to motivate some of our club members. It seemed that all we had was bad news, and anything positive helped. After a couple of extensive repair sessions, we were able to repair the runway by patching it up. We rented a roller and went over it a few times to make sure it was ready to handle the warbirds that would attend our event. We were able to host Warbirds Over Iowa on schedule and our members were very happy to have an opportunity to get away from the stress of storm clean up through enjoyment of the hobby we all love.
We appreciate the AMA’s quick response in our time of need.
Todd Davis, President of Cedar Rapids Skyhawks.
[Hurricane] Zeta took more of the metal roof off the pit area and that metal and our benches ended up in a farmer's field...destroyed, of course. The runway material (300 ft. by 15 ft.) ended about 500 ft. away in several large trees.
We were going to try to save the runway material, but decided it needs to be replaced. We will now use the grant money to repair our pit roof and benches and add what's left to the cost of new runway material.
As with a lot of clubs, we have a large number of senior citizens that aren't up to handling 16 ft. 2 x 6's and sheet metal roofing, so getting back to our great facility may take some extra time.
We, again, thank you and the AMA for the grant money.
Al Whitney, President of Bay Area Radio Control Society
The AMA Foundation relies on your donations to continue providing relief and aid to clubs affected by natural disasters. Donate today to the Club Support Fund.
Learn more about the Disaster Relief Grant.