Never forgotten

Guest blogger Sherry Friedlander, Founder of A Child is Missing

In the course of our lifetimes we encounter thousands of people. Think about it. From Wal-Mart to our place of employment, we are likely to interact with hundreds of people per week. In life we never know who is going to make a difference and sometimes it takes a while to realize who has made a difference in our lives.

Rep Shaw

Pictured from left, U.S. Representive E. Clay Shaw (retired), Emily Shaw and Sherry Friedlander, A Child Is Missing

In 2001, Retired U.S. Representative E. Clay Shaw (FL) saw the need for A Child Is Missing alert program and how it could help find missing children, elderly (often with Alzheimer’s or dementia), disabled and others in need of emergency help.  The former mayor of Fort Lauderdale was in congress from 1981-2001 working to meet the needs of all Americans.Unexpectedly meeting the needs of ACIM, he awarded our organization an earmark (funding) that allowed ACIM to expand in Florida and into Rhode Island, Alaska and Ohio. Thrilled and surprised, we all rose to the occasion and moved forward meeting the needs of missing people. When ACIM had our 1,000 safe assisted recovery we invited Mr. Shaw to attend the ceremony at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and we presented him with a plaque and a very big “thank you.”

His comment to me was, “I didn’t know you remembered.”  That taught me that you can’t forget those who helped you along the way no matter how busy you are. Generosity should never go unnoticed, especially in a non-profit organization that relies on donations to meet the needs of the less fortunate.

Patrick Flavin is one of those people who believed in giving back. It rained buckets the day he sponsored a fundraiser for ACIM at his Riviera Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Still, it was the best party ever.  Formerly from Chicago, he was a lover of race horses, computer industry and, most importantly, people.  He believed in giving back and he proves it.

We were having a live auction at the fundraiser on a baseball that was autographed by a celebrity when Barbara Threet started biding and it got up to $1,400, which was out of her range. She looked up at Pat and pleaded, “Help me!” He bid $1,500 and won the ball with that bid. Barbara almost fainted when his kind gesture to help her. It didn’t stop there. Pat gave me the baseball back to auction off at another time.

The rain continued to come down on Fort Lauderdale Beach but the 100 guests or so huddled under the tent, belly to belly and butt to butt, continued to share a great time. Yes the food got wet, but Pat’s hospitality and outpouring of generosity made up for it.

All three of these wonderful people are deceased now but certainly not forgotten. Because of them, A Child is Missing is still reuniting children with parents and the elderly with their families. The philanthropy of Mr. Shaw, Pat and Barbara helped us to make a difference.

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