If you are a family member of a missing person needing assistance, please contact me. If you know something about a missing person, please call your nearest law enforcement agency.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Looking for a Hero? Tim Miller - Texas EquuSearch Qualifies

When I started the work for my website Someone’s Child, both the site and this affiliated blog were to be an expression of support for the families of the missing in Illinois. Certainly we have had our share in recent months, with the disappearances of Lisa Stebic, Jamie Harper, John Spira, to name only a few. In addition to the news feeds I routinely request regarding any missing or unidentified person in Illinois, I found myself immersed in the disappearance of the young mother from Ohio, Jessie Davis. From the frantic 911 phone call of her Mother, I felt that all-too-familiar feeling that this was most likely not going to have a good outcome. The question was whether she would be found at all and how soon, if she was.

The story that brought the news that Tim Miller, from Texas Equusearch was on his way to Ohio to participate in the search gave me hope that if she were destined to be found, Tim was certainly a person that could lead that charge. For those who don’t recognize the name, Tim and his group went to Aruba to search for Natalee Holloway, one of 704 searches carried out by Tim and his group since his daughter, Laura Miller, vanished from her home town in Texas 22 years ago. Her body found with 3 other murdered young woman, two of whom have never been identified, was located 18 months after she disappeared. Texas EquuSearch (www.texasequusearch.org) was formed and carries on through the power of the love of parents for a child taken away, and a need to find a way to help the families who suffer the loss and heartbreak that Tim and his wife struggled through during those 18 gut-wrenching, painful months of not knowing.

When my now-grown children were in school, invariably there would be the ‘hero’ project. The kids would have to come up with their hero and do some project – a paper or presentation or something of the like. After the first one, I realized, sadly, that they really didn’t have heroes, at least not in the sense I think the term implies. Ultimately, they and others in their classes ‘settled’ for Mom or Dad, or an athletic star or politician of the moment. During those late nights, last minute searches for reference materials or proof-reads, I would also wonder who I would pick as a hero. Perhaps it is telling that it was just as difficult for me as it was for my kids.

I’m older now, of course, and certainly less enamored of the rich or famous or infamous that I might have been when I was younger. It wasn’t until I found myself meeting a bunch of every-day, not-at-all famous people that I think I finally came to recognize those that I think are actual heroes. Tim Miller is one, so is Jerry Nance from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Kym Pasquinelli from National Center for Missing Adults and Angela Ellis who runs North American Missing Persons Network, along with all the volunteers at The Doe Network, including Mary Bell, who owns and trains a search dog, volunteers with Texas EquuSearch and gives countless hours to Doe Network as a Potential Match panel member and a tireless Internet researcher, trying to give the unidentified back their names. While it is unlikely that any of these passionate, mission-for-the-missing men and women will become household names, they are just a few among so many, that are truly heroes.