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Long Island Weather Watcher, 101, Sets Record for Service

At 101, Richard G. Hendrickson is no weather wimp. He's been reporting temperatures and conditions to the National Weather Service from his family farm on Long Island in Bridgehampton, N.Y., for 84 years - rain, shine, sleet or snow.

For his faithful service, the National Weather Service recently honored Hendrickson as the nation's longest-serving volunteer weather observer. A new 80-year service award has been named in his honor.

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"I don't think I ever met a day when I thought I should run away and do something else," Hendrickson told Newsday.

Hendrickson started as a weather observer on July 1, 1930, back when Herbert Hoover was president. He occasionally accepts help from his family to collect data and calls in his reports twice a day to the Upton, N.Y., weather office on his rotary phone.

Hendrickson participates in the Cooperative Observer Program, a nationwide network of more than 8,700 volunteers who make daily reports of rainfall, temperature and river levels. Their reports form the basis for the climatology database for the country, according to the National Weather Service.

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Weather is Hendrickson's passion. He's the author of Winds of the Fish's Tail, which details his years of weather watching on Long Island's east end. And he writes a weather column published by two Long Island newspapers. Not bad for a centenarian.

"I enjoy observing the weather," he said. "It's what I do for my country."


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