13 May 3 Women Found: energizing an area activist
By Stephanie Ramirez, WEWS News Channel 5 Cleveland
The rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight is not only inspiring other families of missing children, it’s also energizing an area activist who has been working closely with Gina DeJesus’ family for many years.
Throwing his arms up to cheer, Dennis Bair of BairFind.org could not have been happier talking about the rescue of all three women on Cleveland’s West Side Monday.
“It was like the sun came out,” said Bair.
You see, for those who don’t know him, Bair is one of the people who have been instrumental in keeping the search for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus alive. He’s been doing so through the “Bring Home 100” campaign where he fights to raise awareness about the area’s missing children through professional sports.
In fact, NewsChannel5 has video of Bair with Gina DeJesus’ mother as she threw out a first pitch, for the first time, at Progressive Field last year.
Last year Nancy Ruiz told NewsChannel5, “It’s been very hard because I don’t have the opportunity or people like Dennis Bair that offers his help to help me.”
Just a few weeks ago, Nancy Ruiz also threw out a basket during half-time at a Cavaliers game as the picture of her then-missing daughter played on the big screen, again with Bair’s program.
Growing close with the family over the years, Bair described the conversation he had with Nancy Ruiz last Monday.
“… we both just laughing, half laughing half crying for a long time,” said Bair.
They cried because it’s been such a long time coming. Bair said he’s been working with Gina’s family since 2005 and not without a fight as they struggled to get major and national leagues, in addition to minor leagues, to air their program of the missing children.
A former minor-league pitcher, Bair told NewsChannel5 he knows the importance of having the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA participate.
“We have to take the profiles of the missing children and put those profiles where the people are, and where the people are in every city year-round, is in the sports stadiums and arenas,” he said.
Working in the Pittsburgh and Cleveland areas, he’s put on his program with both minor league, major league and professional teams, from the Akron Aeros to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now he’s hoping the discovery of three missing women will help put the pressure on for professional teams to adopt his program nationally.
Interestingly enough, Bair said on a Skype interview, Gina DeJesus was number 18 or 19 on his list of 100 missing children.
For more on Dennis Bair and his organization, visit BairFind.org .
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