This weekend I posted the updated flyer of my sister, Heidi M Allen. She remains missing, nearly twenty years later. Thanks to organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, The Center for Hope, CUE, NamUs, and LostnMissing.org ~ families have resources, encouragement, and support whether their loved one has been missing for one day, year, decade, or beyond. Your response to the flyer created by the lostnmissing.org continues to bring tears to my eyes and overwhelms our entire family.
At the time of this blog post, 1.7k people have liked the February 15, 2014 blog to share this updated missing person’s flyer. Between the time the blog was posted on Saturday, up until just moments before posting, 8,651people have viewed this same blog. There are eighteen comments, not to mention the sixty-six comments via the link to Facebook. And these are only the numbers we can see, I've tried to thank those sharing if it came across my news feed. There have been over two hundred new likes to the "Where's Heidi?" Facebook page too.
Oh my gosh, amazing. God is working. Each like, share, and comment posted to Facebook or Twitter is a chance that the flyer will trigger a memory, inspire someone to report something they remember, and a chance to bring Heidi home. This was the goal in sharing the flyers with you. As the twenty year anniversary approaches in April, we hope the updated flyer will provide more than hope…we pray it brings answers. Thank you for the encouragement, inspiration, and love you've shared with us.
While this was the prayer and purpose of sharing the flyers this weekend, with the added benefit of highlighting some of the organizations available to assist families of the missing. Both these goals were achieved and continue to bring tears to my eyes as I read your comments on the blog itself, on the shares through Facebook, and the Tweets. BUT, something much deeper and more humbling occurred.
One post in particular took my breath away as I realized an aspect of Heidi’s disappearance I’d thought about before, yet didn’t give enough appreciation. I’m so thankful for the law enforcement, volunteers, family, friends, and community that sacrificed countless hours, meals, and supplies to aid in the search efforts to find my only sister.
It always amazed me to think of the length of time the investigators spent between the Heidi Command Center (located at the New Haven Fire House), following leads, at the office, and providing protection for us when we returned home to rest. Yet, it wasn’t until reading Kerrie’s comment on Facebook that the depth of their dedication, sacrifice, and time tore at my heart.
I’m thankful for Kerrie’s comment and her honesty, as she shared, “My father worked tirelessly for Heidi...seems like for a while the only time I got to see him was on the evening news.” Oh my goodness, tears flowed from my eyes. I appreciated all they did yet hadn’t put myself in the shoes of their wives, husbands, or children. Many of the comments posted touched my heart yet as the daughter and sister…I felt Kerrie’s loss for her Dad. I also read the joy, respect, and thankfulness that he was able to be with our family to hopefully bring Heidi’s home. As Kerrie continued, she said, “I wonder about her (Heidi) quite a bit mostly because her wonderful life and tragic end affected us all so closely as a community.”
I want to use today’s TOP’s Tuesday to extend a HUGE thank you to the families of the law enforcement, volunteers, friends, and family who selflessly sacrificed family time, vacations, and making memories so your husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, grandparent, or whatever the connection might be. I share thanks to those on the front line often when I speak and in my book but failed to recognize those at home, waiting for the news to come on or for their loved one to walk in the door…hopefully saying, “They found her.”
These words weren’t spoken, not yet anyway. I’m so thankful God used Kerrie to open my eyes and heart to such a vital and important aspect of the case. It’s amazing to see how, twenty years later, God still highlights aspects Heidi’s disappearance, the investigation, and the effect it continues to have on families in the Oswego County area and beyond.
Thank you all for remembering Heidi...20 yrs. later!
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323