[REACT-LIST] REACT History and Man Name Pete Kreer
Jay WA4JAY REACT Unit-1
react-unit-14 at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 27 18:16:31 EST 2015
Henry Blackstone `Pete' kreer, 77CB enthusiast started aid networkJuly 20, 2001|By Sean D. Hamill, Tribune staff reporter.His friends
and family describe him as a Renaissance man who was loyal and had integrity.But more than anything, Henry Blackstone "Pete" Kreer, who was 77 when he died of cancer Sunday, July 15, at home in Glenview, was a man of action. In high school, Mr. Kreer excelled in academics and lettered in three sports before studying architecture at Princeton University.When he was drafted in World War II he decided to become a pilot and rose to squadron leader in the Marines stationed in the Pacific. And when he returned home from the war and decided he didn't want to spend more time studying architecture, he went to journalism school at Northwestern University and went on to open his own advertising firm in Chicago."He just really felt there was nothing he couldn't do," said Irene Overman Kreer, his wife of 54 years.
And so it was that on one snowy night in 1961, Mr. Kreer was driving home on the Edens Expressway when he spotted a young couple on the side of the road with car trouble.He pulled over and discovered they had a sick child in the car, and he tried to help.Using an early version of a CB radio in his car, Mr. Kreer put out a call and in 10 minutes a state police squad car made it to the scene.The incident was an epiphany for Mr. Kreer, he told the Chicago Sun-Times in 1982."I spent the next several days thinking: `Wouldn't it be great if there were some organized scheme for us civilians to talk with each other, strictly to help people in trouble?'" he said.He persuaded one of his advertising clients, Hallicrafters Manufacturing, which had given him his CB, to donate $25,000 to start a volunteer group Mr. Kreer called Radio Emergency Associated Citizens Teams, or REACT.The idea was to persuade people to monitor CB activity and relay messages to emergency agencies or whoever could help.The idea started slowly but quickly gained momentum with the rising popularity of CBs. In 1967, Mr. Kreer and REACT persuaded the Federal Communications Commission to designate radio channel 9 as the CB emergency channel.At its peak in the late 1970s, REACT had 74,000 members worldwide. As CB use dropped, membership fell off to about 25,000. But the group, now known as REACT International, continues on, picking up on the growing use of cell phones and expanding its reach as a general emergency aide agency.Over the years numerous acts of assistance large and small were credited to REACT.Mr. Kreer's efforts with REACT were recognized in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan gave him the Volunteer Action Award.Survivors also include a brother, Daniel, and two grandchildren.A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. July 27 in Glenview Community Church, 1000 Elm St., Glenview.
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