21 Jul More eyes on missing children
Posted by Al Bagocius, Jacksonville BUZZ
Dennis Bair, a former minor league pitcher with the Chicago Cubs saw a need to help in the search for missing children. He founded the BairFind Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the goal of getting the public involved in the search for missing children. The Foundation accomplishes this through attaining high profile and long-term visibility of missing children’s profiles and by spreading awareness about the problem of missing children today and how the public can get involved in the solution. The BairFind Foundation was built on the simple philosophy that “more eyes looking means more children found”.
A growing societal problem, every year thousands of children go missing. Many of these children are found a short while later due to the selfless efforts of law enforcement agencies and other organizations. Unfortunately, thousands of children remain missing every year. The main reason is that as their profiles fade from the news and flyers, the leads quickly dry up. The occasional flyer in the mail often ends up in the trash and the post office signs unfortunately only get a momentary glance, if notices at all. When the public stops looking, the chances of recovering a missing child decreases very substantially.
When playing in the minor leagues Dennis began working with the teams to place the photos of missing children on team photos. Today, he works with Minor League Baseball leagues placing stadium concourse boards featuring missing children in the area. Minor League Baseball attracts over 40 million fans through its stadiums annually which significantly increases the number of people looking at the profiles of the missing children. The Foundation is working to place stadium concourse boards at all of the Minor League Baseball stadiums in the country and are concentrating on other sports teams and venues as well.
The Foundation has a record of successes of children profiled being found. In one of the most public efforts, Dennis and the Foundation are acknowledged in the New York Times bestseller “Hope” A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland written by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus who were missing for a decade. Dennis featured Gina’s photo and description his poster campaigns in Minor League Ball parks helping to keep her profile out in public. Upon meeting Gina’s mother, they struck up a friendship and began working together to keep people looking for Gina.
Earlier this year, while participating at OneSpark as a creator, a nice outcome occurred. Dennis had one of the stadium concourse boards there that features local missing children. It is the same board that is out at the Jacksonville Suns stadium. A family member of one of the profiled kids happened upon the board and was thrilled to meet Dennis and the team. It was the family of Mark Degner, a local boy who went missing with a friend after school in 2005.
On Sunday, August 2nd , at the Suns Baseball game, we’ll be joined by the Degner family and host a First Pitch ceremony with them. The game starts at 6:05.
Donations to the Foundation are appreciated and may be given via the website at www.bairfind.org
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