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Tsunami Researchers Win the Western Region Communicator of the Year Award

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Guy Gelfenbaum and his wife Terry
Above: Guy Gelfenbaum, shown here with his wife Terry, is part of the group that won the Communicator of the Year Award for their tireless responses to the devastating tsunami that hit countries around the Indian Ocean in December 2004. (The other award winners could not attend the ceremony.)

At the Western Region Awards Ceremony held October 12, 2005, in Menlo Park, CA, the Communicator of the Year Award was given to Brian Atwater (Earthquake Hazards Program [EHZ]), Eric Geist (Coastal and Marine Geology Program [CMG]), Guy Gelfenbaum (CMG), Bruce Jaffe (CMG), David Oppenheimer (EHZ), and Craig Weaver (EHZ) for their responses to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The award was presented by Western Region Chief of Communications Stephanie Hanna, who said:

"Selecting from the great communicators here in the Western Region is always difficult. We have benefited on many occasions from talented spokespeople, willing to stand for hours downstairs in the visitors center, to get up in the middle of the night or go out on a weekend to do a national news program, to devote hundreds of hours to ensure that our presence at conferences presents the best face of the USGS for important customers and stakeholders, or to write articles for publications that give recognition to our scientific milestones and accomplishments.

"This year, the Communicator of the Year Award goes to an ad hoc group that tirelessly responded to the devastating tsunami that hit 11 Indian Ocean countries following a major earthquake that occurred on Christmas Eve, Pacific time. Suddenly and for the next several weeks, they responded to countless media requests, gave up family time during the holidays, traveled to the hardest-hit areas, and turned the USGS into a major source, partner, and contributor in the science of tsunamis. Most of all, this group helped to educate Americans that tsunami risk is not just present in Alaska, Hawai'i, and distant lands, but is a very real threat to our coasts, and that only preparedness and real-time warning systems can avert future catastrophic loss of life. So, this is a group of lifesavers, not just to us in [the Office of] Communications but in a very real sense to all of us. Brian Atwater, who made Time magazine's top 100; Bruce Jaffe, who's on every reporter's speed-dial, it seems; David Oppenheimer, our representative on the Pacific Tsunami Council; Eric Geist, earthquake and tsunami expert; Guy Gelfenbaum, who lent his expertise to the international effort; and Craig Weaver, who held many public meetings in the Pacific Northwest (even with the families of the first responders on the USS Abraham Lincoln), are our Communicators of the Year for 2005. We are also very grateful to [Western Coastal and Marine Geology] team chief Sam Johnson and to the outreach efforts of [Western Coastal and Marine Geology team outreach coordinator] Helen Gibbons."

Related Sound Waves Stories
Standing-Room-Only Lecture on "Tsunamis—Lessons and Questions from the Indian Ocean Disaster"
September 2005
Second Tsunami Causes Damage in Indonesia—USGS Scientists Post Observations on the World Wide Web
April 2005
Why Wasn't There a Larger Tsunami from the Magnitude 8.7 March 28, 2005, Sumatra Earthquake?
April 2005
Assessing Tsunami Impacts in the Republic of Maldives
April 2005
Astonishing Wave Heights Among the Findings of an International Tsunami Survey Team on Sumatra
March 2005
USGS Scientists Study Sediment Deposited by 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
February 2005
Could It Happen Here?
Dec. 2004 / Jan. 2005

Related Web Sites
Western Coastal and Marine Geology
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Santa Cruz & Menlo Park, CA
Tsunami Research at the USGS
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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in this issue: Fieldwork
cover story:
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Outreach USGS Briefing Reveals Lessons from Katrina and Rita

USGS Woods Hole Staff Go to Washington, D.C., for Oceans 2005

USGS Scientists Featured in News Segment on Broken Levees

Meetings USGS Scientists Participate in Beach Nourishment Workshop

Awards CHIPS Team Wins Award for Innovation in Integrated Science

Keith Miles Wins Unsung Hero Award

Marlene Noble Wins Reimbursable Activities Recognition Award

Tsunami Researchers Win the Western Region Communicator of the Year Award

USGS Volunteer Wins AAPG Pacific Section Award for Best Paper

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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)