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Seventy Years as a Ham and Counting: Vi Barrett Champions Disaster Preparedness at Morningside

Vi Barrett has been a ham radio operator for more than 70 years. She continues her hobby while living at Morningside of Fullerton

This year’s devastating wildfire season and the constant threat of “The Big One” are ever-present reminders to all Californians that disaster preparation shouldn’t be a luxury. For Fullerton retiree Vi Barnett, it isn’t. A 70-year ham radio enthusiast with extensive law enforcement experience, Vi voluntarily dedicates countless hours to ensure her neighbors at Morningside of Fullerton are aptly prepared for the unthinkable.

Vi is at the helm of the community’s ham radio club, where residents receive training on the ins and outs of radio technology and operations. Club members learn how to communicate locally and worldwide with other “hams.” It’s a fun and easy way to socialize and build connections with others. Participants also gain communication skills that are essential in case of an emergency or disaster.

The ham radio club couldn’t have a more suitable person spearheading it. Beginning in 1948, Vi served as the first radio dispatcher for the Los Angeles branch of the FBI. She then went on to handle ham radio communications during the Korean War as a crew member on hospital ships. Her vast public safety background also includes 20 years of volunteer experience with the Whittier Police Department in Whittier, California.

Morningside of Fullerton provides Vi and her fellow hams with the necessary support needed to pursue their passion. Safety is of the utmost importance to the community, and the club’s contributions are very much welcome.

Vi’s experience as a ham radio operator was recently featured in the Orange County Register. You can read more by clicking here.

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