Man in Great Britain connects with Aggieland over radio during COVID-19 isolation

Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 5:28 PM CDT
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A man from the United Kingdom is giving thanks for his newfound friends in College Station.

In our social media age you might think it's hard to feel alone. But with so many people isolating at home for the COVID-19 outbreak, loneliness and cabin fever can creep in.

Dave Rootes lives west of London in a town called Swinton.

"I’m on what we call lockdown in the UK," he said.

The widower is alone in his home. His underlying health issues put him at higher risk for COVID-19.

"Our government's suggested anybody like me whose got underlying health issues, which I do have, to isolate for 12 weeks. Well, the fact I live on me own, I’m a widower, I don’t have any real contact with a human being," said Rootes.

But it hasn't stopped him from making connections all the way in College Station.

"They’re more than friends, sir. A friend is something that is fairly easy to achieve," he said via Skype.

"Amateur radio is going to keep me going. It's just a lifeline," he said.

Rootes is talking to lots of HAM radio operators around the world and in College Station.

"It developed very organically just sitting and talking, finding different connections that we all have in common. He likes to hunt and fish. This is Texas. Who doesn't like to hunt and fish," said Theresa Williams, an Amateur Radio Operator in College Station.

"He likes photography. I love to do photography. Swinton is known for being big into trains and of course we've got the train track right here," she said.

Rootes uses his computer to connect with a repeater at Texas A&M. He's speaking with his Aggie family daily.

"They've overstepped that mark. They’ve made me part of their family," said Rootes.

"What a difference it makes and I think we all agree it does make a tremendous difference and it’s just a way that I can say thank you from the UK. You’re giving me such a leg up, a boost, something to lean on to get me through it," said Rootes.

Rootes has been doing amateur radio for 17 years. Williams has been licensed for 12 years. Rootes has also talked to local amateur radio club members based in College Station and Texas A&M Students.