Beverley from our client admin team, volunteers at a Search and Rescue group in Dublin for missing people.
“Our story starts in July 2014 when our neighbour went missing. He was an elderly man who went out to his garden and was never seen alive again. Searches were organised in the community and every day 300 to 500 people turned up to search the area and beyond. We searched from dusk till dawn. We followed any clues we had, chased CCTV footage and circulated flyers.
As time went on and no sighting of our neighbour was found, the search teams became smaller. In the end only about 20 people remained. By December 2014, only 12 remained searching for our neighbour. We had a drive in us to find him and bring him home, not for praise or glory, but to help a family missing their loved one. We had our own Facebook page for our neighbour with his photo and last known sightings.
We all know the very high profile missing cases here in Ireland and from around the world. We know of families through the media who are missing loved ones for years and years, never having an answer as to what happened, not being able to bury their loved one. And I think that was the main reason we continued looking – to bring closure to someone.
In February 2015 our neighbour’s body was identified. Although a sad ending, a family had gotten their loved one back. Shortly after our neighbour was laid to rest, we had a message from a lady whose son went missing and wanted to know if we could help, so we did. After 3 days of organising searches, flyers and media coverage, we found her son alive and well.
And that is mainly how we are found – through word of mouth and Facebook. We still use the same page that was set up for our neighbour, officially renamed ‘Dublin N/W Missing Persons’. Our Facebook page has nearly 8000 followers and at one stage we reached over 136,000 shares of a post of someone missing. All of us on the team have a different set of skills and we help each other. We have to keep a good mental attitude. We work alongside the Garda to do the leg work that the Garda can’t do.
In 24 cases to date, we have brought every single person home (7 deceased). Families are delighted to have our help. As someone said recently, ‘it’s nice to know someone cares, who’s willing to help and know that we are not alone’.
We do this because we know it makes a difference. It brings hope to people when they are in the dark.”