This coming Thursday, April 3, 2014, represents the 20th anniversary of my sister's abduction from the D & W Convenience Store, located at the State Route 104 and 104b intersection. She disappeared on Easter Sunday two decades ago and remains missing today. Each anniversary is a challenge for the parents, family, friends, and community yet when you face milestone dates, the effect is magnified. Typically, you think of celebrating with those closest to you, sharing the years passed and the ones yet to come.
Heidi's kidnapping is tragic and made an impact on our family, friends, community, and beyond. While we won't celebrate Heidi's absence from our lives on Thursday, we have decided to come together to remember and honor her. Instead of retreating within the comfort of our homes, we look forward to joining all of you.
I hope you will be able to join us this Thursday, April third, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. to share memories, encouragement, and hope with each other as we remember Heidi, the search, and how life is different today compared to twenty years ago. As I scanned over three hundred pictures for the slide show (that will be playing throughout the evening) one thing is evident, the hair styles sure have changed. Anyway, back on topic, the initial hour is designed to give you an opportunity to come together with friends, family, and neighbors to remember, reflect, and relax.
While at the New Haven Fire Barn, in addition to visiting with each other prior there are a few things to do too. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) will be there with information about their Take 25 Campaign. The Oswego County Sheriff's Department will be available to do finger printing with the kiddos. With the help of my wonderful daughter, we've gone through storage bins and organized items from 1994 and 95' to share with all of you.
There will be three "Memory Tables" with photos, news clippings, and displays. At the same time, you can watch a photographic show of over 300 pictures on a continuous loop. If you get thirsty or crave a sugary treat, there will be light refreshments also.
Before you leave, be sure to sign one of the guest books. We may not get a chance to visit with each person so there, so we hope you'll take a moment and sign your name and leave a note. We're hoping to have one table you can sign or leave a note for others to read too. If the kiddos draw a picture, that's cool too. It will be wonderful to see everyone come together once again, like we did twenty years ago.
Our goal for Thursday is to offer an opportunity for everyone to come together, similar to when the New Haven Fire Department first opened its doors to our family, friends, and all who came to volunteer and serve.
Will there be tears shed? Probably.
Will there be laughter? We hope so.
Will memories be shared? Yes.
Will new memories be made? We hope so.
Will Heidi be remembered? Forever.
Will Heidi be forgotten? Never.
Bring your family and friends to the New Haven Fire Barn on Thursday, April 3, 2014, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. for a time of fellowship and remembering our Heidi M Allen, missing twenty years yet never forgotten.
Note: NCMEC, finger printing, displays, and refreshments will be in the fire hall with the social hour taking place outside. Dress accordingly, we're praying for a sunny and warm day Thursday but in light of current weather, who knows what it may be like.
Remember to bring a candle for the vigil - we'll light Heidi's way home from around the flag pole as we did twenty years ago. May God bring all our missing home.