We found this news clipping when looking for pictures to share at the Gathering of Hope for Heidi last week. It wasn't labeled with what paper or a date, unusual because our family is usually very OCD about labeling. I'm going to guess it was one of the local papers - Independent Mirror or Palladium Times but I don't know. If it listed the photographer, we might of been able to figure it out...bummer...love the picture regardless. Thanks to whatever paper printed it and to my Mom for clipping it.
The initial title of this blog was "One Week Later...More than a Gathering". Last week, some of Heidi's family, friends, neighbors, community, and many more gathered at the New Haven Volunteer Fire Department. The turnout was a reflection of a truth we've known for two decades and beyond...we are blessed and live in one amazing town.
Many might blink when they drive through New Haven, New York. You may not even realize you've left Mexico and entered Scriba yet to those who live here, this tiny community is evidence that neighbors still look out for, and support each other. Actually, our "community" extends into the neighboring towns and isn't determined by the invisible lines on the map. Ask anyone who is new to the area, one of their first comments is usually about how friendly and helpful everyone is.
Twenty years ago, Heidi's kidnapping brought fear, anxiety, and loss into our once quiet town. We had a choice to make. We could either succumb to the kidnappers attempt to steal both our beautiful Heidi M Allen, or we could join together. Last week's Gathering of Hope for Heidi M Allen reminded me of the determination, heart, fight, strength, and love nestled in our community. Tragedy came to town but it didn't rob us of our everything ~ we hold out hope, hope for Heidi.
The kidnappers may have taken Heidi and hold the answers to everyone's question, "Where's Heidi?" yet they don't have control over our town or family. God is in control and on the throne. His love, comfort, strength, and guidance were with us in 1994 when the Heidi Allen Command Post formed and He is still here, twenty years later.
The outpouring of support last week was, and still is at times, overwhelming. So many remember exactly where they were on April 3, 1994. They remember who told them Heidi was missing. Some shared how they heard a girl was missing, didn't know who she was, but came to aid in the search because "if it was my daughter, I'd hope someone would do the same."
There is something special about Thursdays to me so when I realized the twentieth anniversary of Heidi's kidnapping was on a Thursday, I smiled. You see, Thursdays were "Sister Day", so to remember Heidi with some of the people who remember Heidi each year and throughout the year...priceless. Today is "National Sister Day", did you know that? My original plan was to simply reflect on our awesome community yet with it being "Sister Day", on a Thursday none the less.
In memory of my sister, Heidi M Allen, I'd like to answer a question I was asked in the past couple weeks. I can't remember who asked me this question, I think it was one of the reporters but she wasn't the only one. I answered the question to the best of my ability yet I continued to think about it, as more than one person asked. It was a question I honestly don't give much thought to until something triggers it.
Let me share my best recollection, paraphrase, of the question asked. It may not be exact but you'll get the gist.
"How old is Heidi to you, in your mind?"
I had to think a minute yet I knew the answer but wasn't sure how to explain it . In one sense, Heidi "would be 38", yet she is eighteen. Last year, when Diana Trepkov updated her age progression, I was able to see Heidi as a thirty-eight year old woman but most of the time, Heidi is forever eighteen years old in my mind. When I see her friends posting picture of their kids going to kindergarten, receiving an athletic award, school pictures, or celebrating birthdays, I am reminded that Heidi "would of been", or that "she would be".
Do I know Heidi's physical age is four years younger than myself? Yes. Can I visualize her as this grown woman, not so much. The only reason I have a slight image is thanks to Diana Trepkov's skilled drawing. For the most part, Heidi is still the energized, motivated, beautiful, and determined eighteen year old looking forward to her college graduation in May 94'. She didn't graduate from college.
She didn't reach the goals she set when our high school decided to close its doors the year before her graduation. She didn't start her career and help children like she hoped to BUT...maybe she has, in a way only God could see. Be sure to read tomorrow's blog to learn more about this thought...
Thank you for remembering Heidi.
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323