Morrisonville Couple Presented with the Benjamin Franklin Award


UPDATE: An 85-year old woman and her husband are receiving a high honor with the National Weather Service for 55 years of service.

Every morning since 1961, Dorothy Bullard goes through the same routine: checking the rain gauge, reading the temperature, and recording it in her notebook for the National Weather Service.

"I have a temperature gauge and a fischer porter rain gauge. It used to have a tape that ran and I'd have to take the tape off every  month and send it to them. Now it has a computer in there," explains Dorothy Bullard.

She says it all started 55 years ago. Her friend had a weather station at his house in Morrisonville.

"It had been in his family for about 50 years or more. We had a record for weather for about 100 years or so in Morrisonville. He was getting older, so I started helping him. When he had to give it up, I took it," says Bullard.

This week, Dorothy Bullard and her husband Bill Bullard were presented with the Benjamin Franklin Award. The National Weather Service says the award is given to very few people.

"It's a big honor to receive this," says Bullard, "In the past, I've had state police call me wanting to now what the weather, the rain, and the wind was on a certain day. In the past, I had farmers calling and asking about the rain fall total."

"The award, so much of that, is her credit. I just pretty much stand out of the way and allow her to do it," says Bill Bullard.

Dorothy Bullard says observing weather patterns is a passion she plans to keep doing for as long as she can.

"I love it! It's just interesting!" she says.

This is not the first time the Bullard family has received an award for weather observations. Dorothy Bullard says she's received about ten awards in her 55 years of service. She also received the most prestigious award, the Thomas Jefferson Award. No more than five are awarded nationally each year.

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MORRISONVILLE - Dorothy and Bill Bullard of Morrisonville were presented the Benjamin Franklin Award by the National Weather service Tuesday, October 18th. This award is presented to cooperative weather observes who complete 55 years of service. The couple began observations on October 11, 1961. They have provided the NWS (and the U.S. Weather Bureau, predecessor to the NWS) with over 20,000 weather observations in the Morrisonville area. 

Here is the history behind this award from NWS Lincoln office website:

The award is named in honor of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), who tried to explain the reasons for various weather related phenomena, and discovered some ways to predict the weather. The award is signed by Dr. Louis W. Uccellini, NOAA's Assistant Administrator of Weather Services (also known as the director of the National Weather Service). It was presented by NWS Lincoln Meteorologist-in-Charge, Ernest Goetsch, and Data Acquisition Program Manager, Billy Ousley. Also in attendance from NWS Lincoln office were John Parr, Chuck Schaffer, and Scott Baker. 

The Bullards have also received the John Campanius Holm Award and the Thomas Jefferson Award. The Jefferson award is the most prestigious with no more than 5 awarded nationally each year. 

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