VHRU - Volunteer Homeland Reserve Unit, Las Vegas, Hendrson NV VHRU - Volunteer Homeland Reserve Unit, Southern Nevada
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Volunteer Homeland Reserve Unit

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A Year in Review


Once again we had sad news; we lost Al Charek this past week. Al joined the VHRU in early 2003 and has participated in numerous events until the last two years when he became ill. Al will be missed by all. His image has been added to our Honor Roll on our web page. A Mass card from the VHRU Organization was mailed to Patricia, his widow. There are no plans for a service at this time.

The Metro New Years Eve detail went pretty smoothly. We had coverage at all substations, most with one VHRU member and a light duty Metro Officer.
Certificates of Appreciation were sent to Ted Farace from the City of North Las Vegas for our participation in the November hospital exercise. Certificates will be given out this evening at the General Meeting.

Nye County has also issued Certificates of Appreciation.  These certificates recognize all the help volunteers gave to Nye County – Pahrump over the past few years. We assisted in three H1N1 events and a few mock exercises. All those VHRU members who assisted will receive a certificate. As soon as they are received they will be mailed out to everyone.

On April 20th there will be a mock exercise in Nye County involving the Test Site. Details will be forthcoming. Paul Wagner and his Squad Leaders, Andy Parisi and JJ Lynch will represent the VHRU at upcoming planning meetings. This will be a full scale exercise and we anticipate being involved.

Ted Farace contacted Curt Geiger and Jim Duggan our radio consultants to get them started on a plan to install a repeater on the Nye County Communications Tower at their EOC in Pahrump. The cost, if approved for this repeater will be paid for out of our Treasury and hopefully reimbursed by the State under our EMPG grant.

Ted Farace was contacted by the Metro Homeland Security Unit to attend meetings for the upcoming NASCAR event at the Las Vegas Speedway. They requested the VHRU assist them at this event and this is good news that they are coming to us for help. The meeting is set for 2/10/11. Additional information will be distributed after this meeting.

There is a new Metro Captain assigned to DTAC. He appears to be more proactive and Ted will approach him with the idea of a second monitor and possibly connecting the outside casino cameras on Fremont Street back to DTAC. On behalf of the Board we want to thank those who have helped over the past 80 weeks. We can do great things with this in the future. We need more members to think about assisting. Let Ted know if you can give 4 hours, one day a week.

The VHRU will be holding a Communications Radio Test for the Core Leaders and Backup Squad Leaders only in February. Ted will send out an e-mail with the date and details, once he meets with Curt Geiger and Jim Duggan to discuss how this will work. The VHRU members need to continue to practice and become more familiar with our radio system.

Paul Wagner, Bob Boerner and Ted Farace flew up to Carson City in late December and met with the Chief and Deputy Chief of the State’s Emergency Management Division.

The meeting went extremely well with one issue; the Deputy Chief Kamala Carmazzi indicated she is retiring. We believe she will be coming back as a part time employee and will still be available to assist us with our grant funding requests.

During this meeting, we asked for funding for rental of an office and additional communication equipment. We need more mobile radios for all Core Leaders and some repeaters for Nye County. It was unclear whether additional funding would be available at this time on our request.

Update on outstanding issues, The Fort Mojave Tribal nation is considering adding medical coverage on their insurance policy. If this is done, we can sign an MOU with them. Ted sent a note to their Emergency Manager requesting his permission to conduct a training exercise on their reservation (Avi Casino grounds). We are waiting to hear back from them to see if they will participate, jointly with us.  This would be a good location to practice a simulated situation. Scenario on this exercise would be discussed with the Tribal Nation for their input.

A meeting was held this week with Sgt Dan Lake the City of North Las Vegas Emergency Manager to discuss our involvement in future 2011 exercises.

All the local police agencies are in the same position, no EMPG funding to spring of this year. North Las Vegas PD may hold table top exercises with no deployment as an alternative due to the lack of funding to cover expenses of a full scale event.

The VHRU will plan on conducting at least 4 exercises over the next nine months to fulfill our obligation under the Emergency Management Program Funding Grant (EMPG) program. Details on the exercises will be sent out to all or discussed at one of our upcoming monthly meetings.

Last year at one of our General Meetings we had Matt Neely form the ECO Insurance group as a guest speaker to discuss discount insurance. If you did not attend, his phone number is 795-0407. The Board suggests that you consider giving him a call for a quote. Many of our members have also contacted Matt to obtain the discount rate. The insurance policy is under the Civil Service Employee Plan, which all VHRU members would qualify to participate.

Depending on how many of our membership purchase a policy with him, a rebate will be sent to us as a commission to be added to our Treasury.


Tonight Ted passed out an announcement from FEMA regarding the EMPG grant program. It appears that the Government might not reimburse for expenses incurred from 10/1/10 to 12/31/10. If this was to happen, we would stand to loose close to $9,000 we have already spent during that period. This is not good news. As in the past, we anticipated recovering those funds from our new grant, which would start back on 10/1/10 to 9/30/11. As soon as Ted hears something from the State he will advise everyone.

The VHRU has been contacted by Las Vegas Metro to assist in this year Laughlin Nevada River Run. The dates of the Run will start on Thursday, 4/28/11 to 5/1/11. There will be one meeting in Laughlin on March 31, 2011, at the Laughlin Metro Substation. Bob Boerner Tri State Coordinator and Ben Bacchi, Arizona Team Leader will attend representing the VHRU. In the mean time, we will try to focus on how many rooms they will allocate to us and start soliciting members to volunteer.

A letter was drafted and mailed to Lieutenant Brian Evans, Las Vegas Metro, Laughlin Substation offering our assistance with the River Regatta in August. It appears that Metro will be involved in this event for the first time. This will not be an issue for us as in the past with Bullhead City because we have the proper insurance and workers comp already in our MOU with Metro. It is not clear what Metro intends to provide for this event but we can act as spotters on the Nevada side of the Colorado River only. As you recall, negotiation with Bullhead City regarding insurance coverage has come to an impasse and we most likely will be used by Metro.

Ted Farace had a meeting with a VHRU member, Jackie Miller who presently is a College instructor at a Henderson College to solicit her help in becoming the VHRU ICS Instructor. She has agreed to put together an ICS program for us. Material was obtained from North Las Vegas PD and passed on to her.  Once she is ready, we plan on having a class a month to those who have not obtained ICS 100 certification.

Curt Geiger our Communications Consultant and Ted met with the Nye County Communication Department Supervisor in Pahrump to discuss placing a repeater on their tower for VHRU communication capabilities. A follow up letter was mailed the other day to his manager, outlining our proposal. This will have to be approved by the Nye County Sheriff. I’m hoping we can achieve this by the April 20th exercise in Pahrump.

Paul Wagner our VP sits on the Nye County Emergency Services Committee and has submitted on behalf of the VHRU a budget for consideration under their grant program. The proposal would cover the cost of the repeater, cable installation etc., approximately $4.000.
Paul‘s request was no accepted and the funding went to another local agency. I will continue to try to get additional funding for communication equipment from the State to help defray this cost.

Bob Boerner, the Tri State Coordinator has informed the Board that Mike Gati has offered to become the “B” backup Squad Leader.  Thanks go out to Mike for his support. 

Paul Wagner and Ted Farace attended a Table Top Exercise (TTE) recently, which was hosted by Las Vegas Metro PD at the Las Vegas Speedway. This exercise was in preparation for the upcoming NASCAR event starting on March 4, 5 and 6.

As part of the Table Tope Exercise, we will need one member each day to be at the Metro Unified Command location (T/B/D) to represent the VHRU. The three members will be from the Core Leadership and will be responsible to activate our call out system to our members if we are mobilized.  It is unclear what the hours will be for the Unified Command on those three days.

Tonight we have asked our Squad Leaders to get a list of names of members at their tables that would be available, only if we are activated on those three days.

The VHRU conducts simulated exercises a few times a year. This year, one exercise we will be conducting is a radio test of our new VHRU frequency donated by Curt Gieger (Two Way Radio). This will occur on Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 9am.  Each Team Leader, Squad Leader and back up Squad Leader will hopefully participate. An e-mail reminder will be sent out to all our Leadership as a reminder.

Las Vegas Metro Emergency Management Unit has reached out to me to participate in the upcoming Communications Rodeo at the Las Vegas Speedway. The date of this event is April 13, 2011. We will only activate those Core Leaders who are available to participate.

St Patrick’s Day is approaching and we will be marching again this year. The plan will be the same, meet at 8 am at the Eldorado Casino on Main Street in Henderson for breakfast. Ted will be sending out an e-mail to all members to see how many can attend.

Our membership continues to grow and we need to create a California Team to handle the new members from that State. Member, Joe Buscher has agreed to take on that role as Team Leader. So far we have six members from San Bernardino County.


Tonight please welcome Matt Neely from ECO Insurance.  He would like to say a few words and present our organization a check for $1,000 as a donation to the VHRU. This donation is the result of some of our members obtaining their auto and home insurance through his agency.  At this point 25 members have changed so far, with a savings to them of close to $20,000.

We just received news that Chief Frank Siracusa, Division of Emergency Management has retired, along with his Deputy Kamala Carmazzi. This leaves us to start building relationships with the interim new Chief of Emergency Management. We will have to travel up to Carson City and meet with him in the near future.

As of now, the only change that has been announced, we will still be under the State of Nevada Emergency Management and receive our EMPG funding but we would work with the head of the State’s Las Vegas office, Bud Marshall. This is good news for us.

The Spring Rodeo Roundup Communication Exercise will take place on April 13, 2011 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway located at exit # 54 of I-15 in Northeast Las Vegas. It is scheduled to begin at 0945 and continue until 1330.  All participants are requested to arrive at 0630 to begin to setup their equipment. This is a joint sponsored exercise between LVMPD and NLVPD and all Clark County Emergency Services are invited to participate.  We have 12 members from the Core Leadership that will assist during these tests. There is no need to go out to the membership for more volunteers.

On March 3rd we conducted a Core Leader and Backup Squad Leader Communications test. We had 20 members who participated. This test was a check of our new VHRU frequency that was donated by Curt Geiger of Two Way Communications. Over all, the new frequency was working well, except the talk around channel worked on a limited basis. If the Clark County Mutual Aid Network fails, we will have this as a backup for our needs.

On March 4, 5 and 6, we were on standby to respond, if needed to the Las Vegas Speedway.  Las Vegas Metro was coordinating this exercise in conjunction with NASCAR security personnel and other agencies during the NASCAR races.

Our Communications Trailer was relocated from Henderson PD to North Las Vegas PD substation on Washburn Avenue. This would have been our staging area, if mobilized. The event went without any incidents.

A few weeks back, Curt Geiger our Radio Communication Consultant and Ted attended a meeting in Pahrump with the Nye County Communications Manager. The purpose of this meeting was to get their permission to install a repeater on their tower to obtain better communication capabilities. I spoke with the individual the other day and he had no word back on our request from his manager. Approval has to be given by the Nye County Sheriff as the tower we would use belongs to the Sheriff’s Department. I will continue to follow up on our request.

The St Patrick’s Parade was held on Saturday, March 19th in Henderson. Our turnout was decent with 28 members marching. Ur VHRU trailer was in the parade with our members marching in front.

The Laughlin Nevada River Run will be held this year on April 28 to May 1st. If anyone wants to help in Laughlin, please let Ted know this evening. As always, we will need Metro authorized drivers to take the Metro vehicles we will be using for that event from Vegas to Laughlin.

Metro PD has advised that we will have 6 rooms assigned to the VHRU at the Pioneer. Additionally, we will also need 6 members to be assigned to the various hotel surveillance rooms in Laughlin for those three days.  We are counting on the Laughlin/Arizona members to fill those positions.

Yesterday some of the Core Leaders attended the Memorial Service for our long time member, Al Charak. The service was held at the Davis Funeral Home 6200 Eastern Avenue with the interment at 2 pm at the Boulder City Veterans Cemetery.  Al was the Boulder City Team Leader since inception of the VHRU and his family appreciated our presence at these services.

Our next months General Membership Meeting will have to be moved to April 19th instead of the 26th of the month. The Laughlin River Run will be in progress and many of us will be in Laughlin. Paul Wagner will be hosting the April and May General Meetings in place of Ted Farace. We will not have a Core Meeting in April but will pick up our regular schedule in May.

I have extended an invitation to Terry Revilla a former Captain, New York State Police assigned to Homeland Security for New York State to be our guest speaker at the April General Membership Meeting. Terry Revilla was a survivor on 911, trapped in one of the towers and will talk about his experience on that day. Terry is a Member of the Marine Corp League in Las Vegas and was referred to us by our member Ray Mauss.


Click here for June - November agendas (pdf format)

(No agenda for September and December)

Ted Farace


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