The idea of using CB radio in an organized way for emergency communications was born in a Chicago snowstorm using the CB to get help for a young family broke down on an expressway with a very sick child.
On January 23, 1962, REACT's founder, Henry B. "Pete" Kreer, convinced Hallicrafters Company to sponsor the REACT program. The initial requirements for a Team was three members who agreed to monitor hours for CB emergencies and the first REACT colors were red and black. There were no dues or other requirements except to comply with federal and state regulations.
By 1964, it was determined that there was a need for a National CB Emergency Channel. REACT National Headquarters asked all REACT Teams to monitor the channel as a voluntary emergency channel. REACT was up to 800 Teams at this time.
In 1967, REACT led a movement to convince the FCC to designate channel 9 as the CB emergency channel.
In 1969, General Motors Research Labs assumed sponsorship of REACT and in the same year Jerry Reese came to REACT as Managing Director with Henry B. Kreer remaining with the title of Executive Director.
From 1970 to 1972, the Ohio REACT Emergency Network was formed, the same date that channel 9 became an official emergency channel under FCC rules. This network issued several reports to state and federal agencies to show the relationship between REACT and channel 9 as the emergency channel. This led to the later formation of the Ohio State REACT Council as a pattern for future Councils. REACT colors were changed to orange and black. The Red Cross agreement was reached and "Where Seconds Count" was produced. Dues were $1.00 per member with a $5.00 charter fee. All teams - new and existing - were issued a charter number. Teams chartered in 1970 are charter teams and designated with a "C" front of their numbers.
On April 24, 1973, NBC's Today Show televised an interview with Gerald Reese and Henry Kreer. Their talk about the REACT program over 220 affiliated stations created over 500 inquiries about the REACT program.
In 1975, REACT broke from GM and started as an independent organization. REACT International received not-for-profit status in Illinois.
In 1976, the first REACT National Convention was held at Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois. REACT's first Board of Directors was started in 1976 and REACT was represented at the first White House Conference on CB radio. REACT Month began in 1976 and was granted recognition as a fully tax exempt organization from the IRS. All teams were included under this group exemption. This enables REACT to receive tax deductible contributions.
In 1977, the REACT Convention was held at the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas. The American Trucking Association and REACT cosponsored the first REACT Safety Break Program. REACT was awarded a contract for the purpose of producing a training program for the NEAR (National Emergency Aid Radio) program for the National Highway Traffic Association. REACT Help Flags were introduced and the number of REACT Councils grew to 40.
In 1978, the 3rd Annual REACT International Convention was held at Baldwin Wallace College in Berio, Ohio. REACT membership was at 74,000 members and the CB boom was at it's peak. REACT members nominated the first Field Members to the REACT International Board of Directors and an agreement with the Special Olympics provided for local teams to furnish communications for events.
In 1979, the 4th Annual REACT International Convention was conducted at Penn State University Beaver Campus, Beaver, Pennsylvania, and had an attendance of 273 and dues were raised to $5.00 per member. The late 1970's brought declining membership and declining CB use.
In 1980, the REACT International Convention was held in Atlanta, Georgia. Life Membership was introduced to REACT members, the Forum became and reality and advertising in the REACTer was taken for the first time. The first mail ballot from teams was held to elect the first Forum Officers.
In 1981, the International Convention was hosted by the lndiana REACT Council in Indianapolis, Indiana, and dues were increased to $7.00 per member. Peter Kreer was replaced by Gerald Reese as Executive Director. Convention rotation was approved (Western to Central to Eastern to Central, etc.)
In 1982, the REACT International Convention was held in Las Vegas where the President's Volunteer Action Award was received. REACT's 20th year was celebrated with the addition of more than 200 teams in REACT UK and participation in South Africa, Australia and other places around the world. At our 20th Anniversary as an organization, we could proudly and without qualification state that REACT was the most significant organization of its type anywhere in the world.
In 1983, the REACT International Convention was held in Wichita Kansas, and Sedgewick County REACT was the first team to host a Convention. At this time membership was 1,000 teams and 18,000 members.
In 1984, the REACT International Convention was held in Daytona Beach, Florida. Dues were increased to $10.00 per member. "CB Coalition Against Drunk Driving" was formed. The REACTer changed to white paper from newsprint. Liability insurance coverage was increased from $500,000 to $1 million. The team officer bonding insurance program was added. Eugene Goebel, a charter member of the Board of Directors since it was established in 1975, died. The Eugene Goebel Memorial Award Fund was started to recognize REACT members who give outstanding service. REACT joined GE Radio in supporting GE's proposal on the Personal Radio Service.
In 1985, the REACT International Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois. The "C" in REACT was changed from Citizens to Communications to reflect the expanding role of REACT. The senior citizen discounts for Life Membership were introduced and the minimum age for Life Members was set at 13. REACT Forum Task Groups were moved into the Board and Forum offices were discontinued.
In 1986, the REACT International Convention was held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This was the first Convention ever held outside of the USA and was sponsored by the City of Calgary REACT. Gerald Reese resigned his position and Ron Mayes was hired as General Manager and REACT headquarters was moved to Wichita, Kansas. The REACTer changed from a newspaper form to magazine form. Some 34 teams and 500 members of the REACT United Kingdom Management Committee affiliated directly with REACT International. 1986 marked the first year since 1978 that REACT was in the "black" financially. REACT Australia was started. Dues were $10.00.
In 1987, REACT's 25th Anniversary International Convention was held in San Antonio, Texas. Team Topics newsletter was introduced to keep teams more informed. New major programs and developments such as the International symbol, Monitor CB 9 Road Sign, and "Getting Help by CB Radio" pamphlet were started.
In 1988, the REACT International Convention was held in Roanoke, Virginia, and hosted the largest attendance since 1984. A survey revealed that 99% of REACT teams remain active in monitoring channel 9, 29% of the teams and GMRS and 18% had amateur operators. The REACT Early Bird Renewal became the REACT Renewal Lottery to give more teams more chances to win prizes. Bobby Sherman, actor and singer, created the first-ever television Public Service Announcement for REACT.
In 1989, the REACT International Convention was held in Madison, Wisconsin. The Team Directory was published and distributed. Team bonding increased from $2,500 to $5,000. Sweden joined the REACT family with three teams and over 200 members. New programs introduced were: REACT Affinity Credit Club, REACT Amateur Radio club, and the REACT Affiliate Program. The first European REACT Convention was held and hosted by Ipswich REACT #5009, Suffolk, UK. In attendance was Chris White, President and Chairman of the Board for REACT International. REACT Month was changed from November to May and the REACTer was made available to subscribers of Recording for the Blind."
In 1990, the REACT International Convention was held in Spokane, Washington. The election saw the first 3-way tie for two open Field Director positions. Winners were determined by a cut of the cards. Ron Mayes, General Manager, resigned his position and Deanne Earwood was hired as Office Manager to oversee the daily operations of REACT International Headquarters. Dues were $17.00.
In 1991, the REACT International Convention was held in Melbourne, Florida. Plans were made to bring the membership database "in-house" for economy and better control. Color photos were now available for the front page of the REACTer. The Training and Development Committee announced two new modules in training members on proper procedures of CB Monitoring and GMRS 40 new teams were recognized in 1991, the largest annual increase in several years.
In 1992, the 30th Anniversary REACT International Convention was held in Anderson, Indiana, and hosted by the Indiana REACT Council. The second publication of the Team Directory was issued with updated information in a smaller book.
In 1993, the REACT International Convention was hosted by Southwestem REACT and held in San Diego, California.
In 1994, the REACT International Convention was hosted by the New Jersey REACT Council and was held in Somerset, New Jersey. Dues were $21.
In 1995, the REACT International Convention is being hosted by Nebraska REACT and held in Omaha, Nebraska. REACT International expanded the "C" in our name to mean communications on the Internet also with a new address "firstname.lastname@example.org". Teams started creating their own WEB pages and establishing their own presence on the Internet. Rose City (Windsor) REACT of Canada was the first Team to build and publish their own Home Web Page on the Internet. During the convention, a special event station was held on the Internet during that week. The first Internet Seminar for REACT was given with the help of a local Internet Provider and Amateur Radio Operator, Dale Botkins, President of Probe Technology. Electronic QSL cards were e-mailed to those who contacted REACT International at the convention during that week. Cobra Radio became an "Official Sponsor" of REACT, and Norm Goldberg from Cobra was appointed as Director at Large. Dues were $20.
In 1996, the REACT International Convention will be held in Silverdale, Washington. Dues will be $20 for Regular members, $18 for Family/Junior members.
In 1997, the REACT International Convention was held in Etobicoke (Toronto Area), Ontario, Canada. Dues will be increased to $20 for Regular members, $18 for Family/Junior members.
In 1998, the REACT International Convention (July 20-23) was in Janesville, WI. Dues will be $20 for Regular members, $18 for Family/Junior members. The Opening Session started with the Flags being brought in by the Green Berets. A special thanks to the speakers, the Wisconsin Council of REACT teams, Greenhills Consulting, and all of the volunteers that made this event possible. This year, the RI Board of Directors moved our HQ offices to a new location in Suitland, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. Our current address and contact info is:
REACT International, Inc.
5210 Auth Road, #403
Suitland, MD 20746 USA
Our old address and contact information in Wichita, KS was REACT International, Inc., P.O. Box 998, Wichita, KS 67201 (PH: 316-263-2100, FX: 316-263-2118).
In 1999, the new office in Suitland, MD is unpacked and fully open for business. Grand Island, NE was the host site of this year's REACT International Convention. RI published a brand new web site under the direction of the Web Development Team.
In 2000, the convention was held at Kissimee, FL. This was the first year that competition was held for websites, team brochures, and scrapbooks. Several Team members from the Trinidad/Tobago were able to attend.
In 2001, the convention was held in the country of Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. While attendance from the USA and Canada was limited due to costs involved wth airline tickets and obtaining passports, the hospitality and experience was second to none. Their national TV stations (all of them) taped and broadcast live the 4 hours opening ceremony where national officials spoke kind words about REACT in that country. A new bill was passed legalizing the use of CB radio, based on the USA FCC rules with some modifications. Attendees were treated to in-home hospitality by several TT REACT members, including a birthday party for their son. We toured the island as a group, or in small private groups. All courtesy was extended, including the arranging to obtain ham radio reciprocal licenses for the USA hams who attended.
In 2002, the convention returned to the USA, being held in Des Moines, Iowa. Despite some last minute program scheduling problems, the convention was a success!
In 2003, the convention moved a bit further east to Evansville, Indiana, where we were treated to a paddle boat ride on the Ohio River, after having dinner on shore (for those with queasy stomachs). The host organized a photography contest for the junior members, where their photos and stories (about the convention) were published in the daily newsletter called "The Porthole". At this convention, it was decided to start holding conventions ever odd numbered year due to the rising cost of gasoline and travel expenses, in the hopes that this action would increase attendance at future conventions.
In 2004, the Board held a summer board meeting in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area near the DFW airport.
In 2005, the convention moved west, almost into the Pacific Ocean, as Crest REAC hosted the convention in Corona West, California (Near LA). The lead speaker was Gordon West.
In 2006, the Board held a summer board meeting in the St. Louis, Missouri near the airport. There was no increase in dues, and the team insurance fee was reduced by $1/member due to a decrease in insurance premiums.
In 2010, It was announced that REACT International was moved to 12144 Boyton Plank Road, Suite C, Dinwiddie, Virginia, USA 23841 with same telephone number as an economic move.
REACT International, Inc.
12144 Boydton Plank Road, Suite C
Dinwiddie, VA 23841
Voice: (301) 316-2900
Fax: (301) 685-3447