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A sense of community ranks high in importance to Oklahoma volunteer

“We are all one community and we have all been given individual talents. We should use our talents to make our community stronger and a better place to live,” said retiree Doug Forsyth, former chief of the National Severe Storms Laboratory’s radar research and development division in Norman.
by Bryan Painter Modified: June 1, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: June 1, 2014
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— A sense of community ranks high in importance to Doug Forsyth.

Growing up in Brandt, S.D., a close-knit community of only 140 people, fostered his life-long spirit of volunteerism.

But regardless of the origin, Forsyth, 66, is not content to just live in a community, but to give back to it.

“We are all one community and we have all been given individual talents. We should use our talents to make our community stronger and a better place to live,” Forsyth said.

He retired in 2012 as chief of the National Severe Storms Laboratory’s radar research and development division in Norman, but continues to use his hands and knowledge to serve through various groups.

Days of need

Forsyth volunteers with the United Way of Norman and the South Canadian Amateur Radio Society.

He’s been a member of the Norman Emergency Response Team since 2008, where volunteers are trained to respond to emergencies in the community — tornadoes, floods and other disasters.

“I lend my expertise in weather radar interpretation during severe weather, especially tornadoes, by working at the Norman Emergency Management office,” he said. “During the 2012 tornado, we helped manage a shelter in central Norman.”

He also has helped in other ways following disasters through the work of his church, Memorial Presbyterian Church.

“Following the May 3 (1999) tornado, we took our chainsaws and helped a family in Moore clear the trees from their house and property,” he said.

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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