It is so hard to put the last 12 days into words, but since we started this blog half way into the search, I thought I would update it a bit with the backstory for anyone interested that does not have facebook.
Wed 10/19- Jim goes missing and his disappearance is reported to the Yavapai Sheriff's office
Thurs 10/20- One search and rescue officer begins searching a trail behind the house in the Village of Oak Creek. This is a trail that is very close and very familiar to my father. Today the kids arrive as well to join in the search efforts.
Friday 10/21- Our first 7am Ranger Station meeting. We have an amazing group of volunteers eager to help. Simultaneously the YCSO (yavapai county sheriff's office) sends out a team of air scent dogs and a helicpoter to canvas the same area as the day before. In order to keep that area freed up for the dogs, we mobilize volunteers into our second choice spot where we think dad might go. In addition we send out people to hand out fliers, canvas neighborhoods and make phone calls.
The love starts pouring in...and so does the food. THANK YOU to all who have kept us well fed during this crisis.
Saturday 10/22- YCSO SAR calls off the search. We are completely on our own in the Search and Rescue department. At this point the Sheriff's office can only follow leads brought in by the public unless something concrete is discovered. They do not have the funds to help us search the desert. 7am Ranger station meetings continue, more groups are mobilized into areas we believe dad could be, or could have traveled through.
Friday 10/21-Saturday 10/29 all blur together.
7am Ranger station meetings continue, to try to organize and mobilize volunteers. We continue to have the amazing support of family, friends, neighbors, community members and our church family. Ladies from the church are teaming up with neighbors to man the phones, shop, cook, find housing for out of town volunteers and lift our spirits. Men and women alike from the church and community are out combing the desert, family and friends fly/drive/make their way to Sedona to join the cause. Plane and helicpoter pilots donate time for air searches, friends with 4WD and ATV's mobilize, people with horses show up to help, AZSTAR (AZ search, track and rescue) bring various dog teams up from the valley, AZ search and response members also volunteer to mobilize a dog team, friends mail in their personal GPS and radio equipment to help us organize more efficiently. Red tape is put up and the volunteers do their best to tear it down. We could not have gotten this far without ALL of you. Community businesses reach out to donate supplies, copies and services. GARMIN donates brand new Rhino units and more to keep us in contact with eachother and keep us on the right path. We mobilized the media and found dad's story on the nightly news, in the papers and on the radio. Communities near and far organized prayer vigils, posted (and continue to post) fliers in their vicinity, paper cranes were made (with a goal of 1,000 in hopes of finding truth in the ancient 1,000 paper cranes tale that if you make 1,000 your wish will come true), hundred's maybe even thousands PRAYED.
We have had many visitors: family, friends, community members we have never even met before, pastors...even our synod bishop. All have brought peace and love. Each day is hectic, every evening is family time. We have cried, talked, worshiped, planned and prayed together.
Besides our minds going a mile a minute trying to pull together this one-of-a-kind (our first time, ha ha!) grass roots search, all we can do is watch in amazement at the help and love and say Thank you, thank you, thank you...but still no Dad.
Sunday 10/30-It has been a grueling 10 days. The family goes to church and worships the Creator who knows and sees all. We trust that He will make a way in all of this. One of the Reformation texts Psalm 46, has helped us through the begining of this journey "God is our Refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble." After church more calls are made, more tips come in, at this point the YCSO is fielding hitch-hiking tips, can dad be out there, outside of Sedona? We won't say no, and we appreciate any leads...where to look next...that is the question.