Pittsburgh man’s reason for hope affirmed by women’s rescue in Cleveland

Pittsburgh man’s reason for hope affirmed by women’s rescue in Cleveland

Dennis Bair starts BairFind Foundation to aid search for missing children

By Kelly Brennan, WTAE Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — The news out of Cleveland is proof to a Pittsburgh man that there is reason to hope, and there is purpose behind his passion.

Dennis Bair, the founder of BairFind Foundation, is dedicated to finding missing children. Gina DeJesus is one of those children.

Since 2005, Bair has worked closely with the DeJesus family. His foundation centers around showing a missing child’s face in places most hometowns would see the photo. An ex-minor league baseball player, he believed the sports stadiums and jumbotrons could be put to use.

So that’s what he and his team have done for years: traveling from city to city, providing photos of faces they pray the public will remember and recognize.

Just three weeks ago, Bair traveled to Cleveland for a Cavaliers game, where he spent time with the DeJesus family. During the game, photos of missing children from the area were shown to all the fans. Gina’s face was one of those.

Monday night, this now baseball coach received a text from a member of his foundation asking if he heard the news.

“I Googled it right away,” said Bair, who was in a state of disbelief until he saw the news coverage.

“The first thing in my head was, it was like, a new day. I had just done the majority of my day and all of a sudden I was like this is a new day. It was like the sun was up,” said Bair.

Bair contacted Gina’s mother, Nancy Ruiz, immediately.

“I called her and she picked up the phone and said, ‘Hi, Dennis,’ and I said, ‘Hi, Nancy.’ And then she said, ”Dennis, are you OK?’ And then I said, ‘Yes, Nancy, are you OK?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’ And then we both started laughing. I mean, we were laughing and crying probably for awhile, and I just said ‘Congratulations’ and, you know, ‘You never gave up.’ And she just thanked me profusely for working with them over the years.”

Bair can’t wait to have more phone calls similar to that one in the future.

His foundation’s program is called “Bring Home 100.” Bair said the goal is to raise awareness for missing children until 100 of those featured are found and brought home.

“Yesterday we got numbers 17 and 18. Those are Gina and Amanda (Berry).”

For more information visit bairfind.org.

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