Martin Ferris, a native of England whom I met while working on a story about tornado-chasing tours in 2000, has been named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) for services to the National Health Service in England.
His investiture will be on June 28 at Buckingham Palace on June 28.
“It will be a fantastic experience,” he said via e-mail.
I’ve stayed in touch with Martin since he returned to the U.K. following his storm-chasing tour. His dry, sardonic wit was welcome relief on a tour noted mostly for sunny skies, scattered rain drops and not a single tornado despite traveling enough miles to go from coast to coast and then some.
Until the very last day.
That’s Martin on the far left, peering over his glasses at a map with Silver Lining Tours owner David Gold and other members of the group.
Tornado tourists are a strange bunch: they gripe about sunny skies and 83 degrees. Why? They want to see tornadoes.
Patience and a good sense of humor are welcome companions for those long drives and longer days. Martin has an ample supply of both.
And, no, he won’t become known as “Sir Martin” after this. That title is only given to men who are knighted – the two highest classes in the Order of the British Empire.
However, I may call him that when I’m feeling ornery, just to get a reaction out of him. He keeps a close eye on the weather in Wichita and Tornado Alley, and we talk often about what’s happening in England’s football leagues. (That’s “soccer” to us blokes in the U.S.)