Meet the Centenarian National Weather Service Volunteer Who’s Been Taking Readings for 84 Years


Richard G. Hendrickson dials a certain telephone number by 10 a.m. every day. “Bridgehampton,” he says into the receiver. “Good morning.”

They know his voice at the National Weather Service. “I don’t say Hendrickson,” he said. “Sometimes if they’ve got a new one” — a new meteorologist answering the phone at the New York-area forecast office in Upton, N.Y., about 40 miles away — “they’ll say, ‘Who is this?’ ”

Who this is is not some nicely tanned surfer checking a thermometer when he is not catching a wave, as one might expect in the Hamptons, but a 101-year-old volunteer who has taken weather readings for 84 years. Twice a day, every day, he has recorded the temperature, precipitation and wind from the same area of Bridgehampton. He has been at it through 14 presidencies, 13 New York governorships and 14 mayoralties in that city 96 miles away. The Weather Service says he has taken more than 150,000 individual readings.

When the reporter asks if he thinks he should ever have been paid, Hendrickson says, “Oh, no. It’s what you did. In those Depression years, it came to mind once, twice, we’re in debt for the chicken houses and the farmhouse, but no. It’s what you did for your country.”

Slow clap for this man, and this lovely piece. [NYTimes]