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Author Topic: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today  (Read 68635 times)

Concerned

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #255 on: May 28, 2017, 08:49:09 AM »
Sometimes people run far, far away changing their lives (and their families) due to a crime

It's hard to tell what may have caused him to run - perhaps a disclosed mental illness, or perhaps outstanding charges connected to an assault and weapons charge. But, Anton Pilipa disappeared five years ago. And, his brother Stefan continued to look for him.

Originally the anti-poverty activist living in Toronto, Montreal and British Columbia went missing in 2012 and was found in Brazil when highway police in November 2016 picked up an itinerant man without identification.

"I knew he didn't belong to that road. Anton is a different type from us Brazilians, he stands out," Brazilian-Canadian Police Officer Helenice Vidigal said. She searched online and Twittered Stefan who didn't want to get his hopes up. He launched a drive to raise money for the trip, but by the time he got there, his brother fled the hospital and headed to the Amazonian jungle. He was soon found in a Manaus hospital where Stefan picked him up in January and brought him in February 2017. Upon return, Toronto arrested him for outstanding charges.

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/02/09/missing-canadian-man-found-homeless-and-living-in-brazil-five-years-later/ 

Concerned

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #256 on: May 29, 2017, 06:39:23 AM »
Sometimes Getting Advice from Individuals that Make a Career Out of Finding People Can Produce Helpful Search Tips

There are many investigators out there who have the experience and expertise to help assist in finding a missing person. I stumbled upon a site today that was well written for a resource in the U.S., but this is just one of many. Finding the right investigator is probably a topic for another story, but here are a few tips provied on "Investigator Confidential"

Who Benefits from a Search?
  • Adoption
  • Family Reunions
  • Reunited Friendships
  • Fractured Friendships
  • Financial Debts
  • Moral Debts

How Do I Find Someone?
  • Search Engines
  • Social Networking Web Sites
  • Other Web Sites (like The Ultimates, World Wide Internet Directory, and RootsWeb Genealogical Data Cooperative Page, and more. This is a U.S. resource so the equivalent in other countries can be researched)

Other Resources to Find Someone
  • Directory Assistance
  • Libraries
  • Public Records
    • Financial Records
    • Business Name Indexes
    • Real Estate Records
    • Tax Information
    • Registered Voter Information
    • Court Records
  • Province Records
    • Bank Records
    • Bankruptcy Records
    • Birth Records
    • Corporate Records
    • Death Records
    • Divorce Files
    • Investment Records
    • Marriage Licenses
    • Retirement Accounts Records
    • Uniform Commercial Code Filings
    • Welfare Records
  • Federal Records
    • Federal Aviation Pilot License
    • Interstate Commerce Commission Records
    • Military Records
    • Postal Records
    • Tax Court
  • Driver License Record Database
  • Private Investigators

Source:  http://www.investigatorconfidential.com/02-find-a-missing-person.htm
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 06:45:44 AM by Concerned »

Concerned

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #257 on: May 29, 2017, 08:39:08 AM »
There is nothing worse than missing a loved one and feeling helpless. Going years on end wondering if you've done everything to find your loved one. Constantly double-guessing, did I work alongside with law enforcement the best I possibly could? As the minutes, hours, weeks, days, months and years go by searching, waiting, and coping...

Here is a look at some proactive things you can become acquainted with to see if any learnings could apply. Be helpful. Spur ideas. Provide hope. Some of the resources below provide an overview of a process (that doesn't mean your current law enforcement takes this approach), however by looking up industry standards, you may run across something that will be helpful - if just for knowledge, or for direction, or to bring up with those searching for your loved one.

National organizations worldwide publish policy and procedures for finding missing persons so sometimes their insight can spur additional search ideas. Countries are collaborating and sharing best practices. Here are some resources I found from U.S. that they use to train, inform, or guide law enforcement there. (We should put together something similar for Canada, if found.)

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children(R) in U.S. Publishes a Policy and Procedure Manual that Has Tips, for example:

Types of Cases that Come Before Them
  • Nonfamily Abduction
  • Family Abduction
  • Runaway/Thrownaway
  • Thrownaway
  • Missing Involuntarily/Lost/Injured
  • Other

Checklist of step-by-step recommendations for successful case investigation

Statistical information is available at:

Items law enforcement can do to help in investigations:
  • Law Enforcement Training, visit http://www.missingkids.com/Training
    • NCMEC University Online
    • Missing Children Seminar for Chief Executives
    • Exploited Children Seminar for Chief Executives
    • Forensic Imaging Training
    • Advanced Forensic Imaging Workshop
    • Child Sex Trafficking: Awareness and Response (CSTAR)
    • Missing Children: Dynamics and Response
    • Missing and Exploited Children: What Security Professionals Need to Know
    • Telecommunications Best  Practices for Missing and Abducted Children
    • Additional Training Resources
  • Use AMBER Alert and Other Missing-Children Notification Programs
  • Set-up and Use Secondary Distribution of AMBER Alerts
  • Embrace Alternative Notification Systems
    • Post Office - Deliver Me Home Program(R)
    • Local Cable Programming
    • Broadcast Faxes
    • Broadcast eMails
    • Vehicle and Mass Transit Posts
    • Reverse 911 Program - high-speed, phone communications service for emergency notifications that is capable of delivering customized, prerecorded emergency messages directly to homes and businesses
  • Form Child Abduction Response Teams (CART)
  • Protect Children from Online Victimization, from schoolyards, playgrounds, shopping malls, and internet. Visit www.icactaskforce.org for more information on the ICAC Task Force Program
  • Develop and Deliver Child-Safety Programs, visit www.missingkids.com "More Publications: for "Guidelines for Programs to reduce Child Victimization"
  • Investigate Family-Abduction Cases by Prosecutor's Office
    • Develop Missing-Children Clearinghouses
    • Develop Newborn/Infant-Abduction Program
  • Identify and Track Sex Offenders
  • Extend Resources to Missing Young Adults
    • Look into Care Projects: Children Missing from Care Project, visit www.missingkids.com for "More Publications" beginning page 169 of "Children Missing From Care: The Law-Enforcement Response" guide.
    • Look into Recovery of Long-Term Missing Children, visit www.namus.gov database to help solve these cases.
    • Become familiar with Reunification of Missing Children
    • Form a National Emergency Child Locator Center (Expedite Reunification during National Disasters)
  • Identify and Track Sex Offenders

There are guidelines for conducting various types of cases, investigative checklists, initial response, investigative considerations, prolonged investigation tips, and recovery/case closure assistance:
  • Nonfamily Abduction, pages 49-76
  • Family Abduction, pages 77-106
  • Runaway, pages 107-124
  • Critically Missing, Abducted or Lost Children, pages 108-140
  • Missing Involuntarily/Lost/Injured
(This list is not in the brochure, should be)
  • Other

There's an Agency Self-Assessment for Missing-Children Preparedness Checklist that can help strengthen investigations for agencies that may not have had as much experience with these types of cases. See page 183-191 of http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/publications/NC74.pdf

There is a Victim/Family Data-Collection Questionnaire. This provides a wealth of information that a parent can provide to law enforcement to have on hand, even if the law enforcement entity doesn't use this system. See page 195-203


Sources/Resources:

Missing and Abducted Children: A Law-Enforcement Guide to Case Investigation and Program Management, Fourth Edition 2011, http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/publications/NC74.pdf

APCO International's (The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials - International) Standard for Public Safety Telecommunicators When Responding to Calls of Missing, Abducted, and Sexually Exploited Children, visit
https://ncjtc.fvtc.edu/Portals/2/Resources/RS00002373.pdf

Building Community Building Hope, 2016/2017 Prevention Resource Guide, visit
https://ncjtc.fvtc.edu/Portals/2/Resources/RS00004269.pdf

Amber Alert: Best Practice Guide, visit
https://ncjtc.fvtc.edu/Portals/2/Resources/RS00002371.pdf

North American Missing and Unidentified Persons System, visit
https://namus.gov

Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures and Forensic Techniques, visit
https://archive.org/details/pdfy-Ur-c1lNbnIBx7gou

« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 07:08:04 AM by Concerned »

2soccermom

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #258 on: May 29, 2017, 09:58:27 AM »
Awesome posts, Concerned, with a great gathering of resources! I wonder in fact if these last two posts could actually use their own thread and be dupicated there? What do you think, DebbieC? The information provided could be quite useful for someone beginning a search but I don't think they would know to look/begin here. (lol, I agree these offer "hopeful" advice and so should stay here, I just think perhaps a "Suggestions when Searching" thread might also be awesome). What do you think?
Thanks again Concerned for putting this info together!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 10:02:53 AM by 2soccermom »

Concerned

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #259 on: May 29, 2017, 02:12:00 PM »
Hi 2Soccermom,

Here are a couple of sites we started that provide search suggestions, too:

What Resources Do We Have?
http://www.unsolvedcanada.ca/index.php?topic=5708.15

Unidentified and Missing Worldwide Search
http://www.unsolvedcanada.ca/index.php?topic=5151.0

Why People Disappear
http://www.unsolvedcanada.ca/index.php?topic=3766.30


2soccermom

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #260 on: May 30, 2017, 11:05:53 PM »
oh! Awesome. Sorry I haven't seen those already. G'job! :)

Concerned

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #261 on: June 09, 2017, 05:20:10 AM »
Sometimes their parents sing and their voices reach them.

In a rather unusual manner a group of individuals who are parents, family and friends of missing loved ones don't know what else to do when their loved one goes missing. They've tried virtually everything, and now they are waiting and holding onto hope. Sometimes they try unique ways, anything really, that might lead to their missing. This group was no different.

They came together in what must have been pure grief for a performance of a lifetime. Some have been missing their child for decades. And, even though they aren't singers by trade, they lent their voices to a few songs that sent messages to the missing in hopes of reaching them somehow and in some way. One incredibly emotional song, "I Miss You" says it all. This group, called "Missing People Group" took it a step further and entered Britain's Got Talent, primarily for the reach that a nationally televised program can deliver. I can't help but think they gave it their all that night.

And, something wonderful happened. A 13-year-old boy saw his face among those featured while the group sang. Although the story has yet to be told, or maybe never will, the important thing is he is now reunited with his mother.  And, maybe just maybe, there are more to come - a lead for Tom Moore, a boy missing for 14 years has also come in.

Sometimes we sing, and sometimes they hear. Let's hope to bring more home.


The performance on BGT of "I Miss You" - https://youtu.be/b4RlOiVJjCo 

Missing People Choir, visit http://www.missingpeople.org.uk/get-involved/other-ways-lend-a-hand/415-join-the-missing-people-choir.html

Source: http://www.unilad.co.uk/news/child-who-appeared-in-missing-people-choir-appeal-on-bgt-has-been-found/

Concerned

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #262 on: June 25, 2017, 08:28:50 AM »
Sometimes they just didn't want to go to camp.

We can understand why a boy may not want to go to summer camp. It's not for everyone. It can be scary, intimidating and cause unusual behavior. And, so it was for an 11-year-old boy named Angel.

The boy was reported missing by his parents. News crews were alerted. A news crew helicopter was deployed to help with search and reporting efforts. That's when the news crews saw him. He was snoozing on the rooftop of his house.

"I didn't mean to cause any trouble," the boy said who admitted that his mother was embarrassed. "I didn't mean to waste any of the police officers' time."

When asked why he went missing, the polite boy replied that he just didn't want to go to summer camp.

"I was thinking of how hard my mom works to do this... It's very difficult for her, and I'm proud of the patience she has for me," he said. "I just do the most stupidest things sometimes."

Some of us here, wouldn't mind if those missing came back and just said "I just do the most stupidest things sometimes," and we'll leave it at that. No questions asked. Just make it home. We'll take it from there.

Source:
http://people.com/human-interest/missing-11-year-old-boy-found-hiding-on-his-roof-by-florida-news-crew-i-didnt-mean-to-cause-any-trouble/
http://nbc4i.com/2017/06/21/missing-boy-found-on-roof-of-home-by-reporter-covering-story-in-helicopter/

 
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 07:03:29 AM by Concerned »

Concerned

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #263 on: June 29, 2017, 08:47:11 AM »
Sometimes a stranger from another country provides a lifesaving tip.

She was 16-years-old and with her parents in Charlotte, North Carolina, when she left the house without telling anyone where she was going. The FBI's case went cold for more than a year. The authorities and the parents didn't know if she just left the house on her own free will in runaway fashion, or whether there was more to the story. Until, of course, her parents found her diary that alluded to an older man.

Then one night this week, the parents received a tip around 8:09 p.m. that their daughter was being held in a house 200 miles away in Georgia. The lady from Romania had been talking to the teen who claimed to be missing. By 12:32 a.m., FBI recovered her and took 31-year-old suspect Michael Ron Wysolouski into custody. He was charged with aggravated sodomy, curelty to a child, first degree deprivation, interference with custody, and false imprisonment.

The suspect held online conversations with the girl, got her in his good graces, and she met him. From the meeting he took her back to his home and she was confined there ever sense.

Her parents say she is happy to be back home and thankful for all the privileges that affords. However, they say, she is different than she was one year ago; perhaps rightly so.

Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2017-06-26/missing-north-carolina-girl-found-in-georgia-alleged-captor-due-in-court
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 06:28:11 AM by Concerned »

Concerned

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #264 on: July 16, 2017, 05:03:40 PM »
Sometimes a drone can cover more area in less time.

When authorities in the Yakutia Republic in Russia heard there was a four-year-old girl named Karina missing, six days had already elapsed. Sometimes that's too long, already. She went missing on July 29, but they received word on August 3 due to lack of communication between the child's parents - one parent thought the girl was with the other. The mother thought the father had picked her up, but the father had joined a brigade of firemen fighting a local fire. No one had been searching for her.

She was last seen entering the Siberian forest and swampland with her puppy. The foliage was thick. There were 30 kilometers/18.6 miles of dense forest, flowing rivers and swampland to cover. Authorities armed with 60 people spent nine days exhausting all technologies they had available - search (by foot and boat) parties, sniffer dogs, helicopters, and specialists. But, in the end, it was a drone that found Karina laying under tall grass in a swampy area near a river, exhausted, tired, and barely able to speak. She was pronounced critical, but stable in the hospital.

Twelve days, by herself, in rough terrain, four-years-old. Karina made it.

Sources: 
https://www.rt.com/news/179248-siberia-girl-drones-rescue/
http://dronelife.com/2014/08/11/man-hunt-without-man-drones-for-search-child/
« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 07:09:07 AM by Concerned »

Concerned

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #265 on: July 18, 2017, 08:10:03 PM »
Sometimes Global Warming will find a loved one, or two.

Marceline Udry-Dumoulin is 79-years-old; she's been searching for her parents for 75 years. Her parents, Marcelin and Francine Dumouline were 40- and 37-years-old when they went missing in August of 1942. The couple with seven kids wandered to a mountain pasture to feed their cattle and were never heard from again.

"It was the first time my mother went with him on such an excursion," Udry-Dumoulin said, adding that her mother couldn't climb the difficult glacier in previous trips because she was "always pregnant."

The husband and wife were wearing World War II era clothing. They were found by a cable car company employee lying next to each other near a ski lift above the Village of Charndolin in the Swiss canton of Valais. It is believed they fell through a cravais and where buried under deep snow, but with global warming the glaciers have been melting.

"I can say that after 75 years of waiting, this news gives me a deep sense of calm," she said when asked how she felt about hearing the news that her parents had been found. The children were separated when the parents vanished and each spent a lifetime looking for their parents.

Source:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/missing-couple-found-glacier_us_596e07a6e4b0b95f893e1058
« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 07:09:18 AM by Concerned »

Concerned

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #266 on: July 23, 2017, 08:13:41 AM »
In China, there's an app to reunite families.

Fu Gui is 33-years-old today. He recalled memories from his earlier life with a family he no longer knew. So, in 2009 when he learned of Baobeihuijia (Baby Back Home), a website that tries to reunite lost, abducted, stolen or missing children in China, he was curious. All he had to do was upload a picture (the youngest one available) into the Baidu's cross-age facial recognition artificial intelligence database to find a match. He uploaded a picture of when he was 10-years-old. The software samples 200 million photos and refines positive matches with 99.7% accuracy. Sadly, there was no match.

Fu Gui was abducted in 1990 when he was six-years-old by traffickers on his way home from school and his life changed forever. He was sold and forced to live a much different life. In China, it is estimated that 10,000 (10,000 according to China, 20,000 according to the United States, and 70,000 according to other estimates) children are abducted yearly to be sold as child laborers, to the sex industry or sent to the streets to beg. It's an persistent crime and parents who have lost a child have had little recourse in finding their young child among a large nation of people.

But, in 2017 (eight years after Fu Gui submitted his picture), a picture of a missing boy from Chongquing was separately submitted to the same database. It was a matter of weeks when Baidu's software identified a list of potential matches after comparing individual parts of the face to account for the child's morphing facial features as they age. The software works best when the pictures of the children are closer in age. This time, there was a match and DNA testing confirmed the connection.

Fu Gui has since been reunited with his family.

Now, American advertising agency JWT has partnered with Baidu (widely called the Google company of China) to put sculptures of parents with a missing child around town (study the sculpture carefully and you can see the missing child standing between the parent's legs). When passerbys see the white colorless statute they are encouraged to take a picture of the sculpture, download an app, and then watch the missing child come alive in full color and listen to various stories of families in search of their missing loved one. This unique campaign is gaining attention for the app so that individuals who may have been abducted at an early age are compelled to enter their photos and find their families.

To see this technology in action, visit https://youtu.be/j3amtofV8xg (or go to YouTube and search "BABY BACK HOME / Missing Children")

Sources:
https://youtu.be/j3amtofV8xg
http://www.vocativ.com/427175/facial-recognition-lost-children/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/27/technology/china-us-ai-artificial-intelligence.html?mcubz=0
http://adage.com/article/creativity-pick-of-the-day/face-recognition-app-lets-identify-kids-missing/241813/
http://www.digitalrev.com/article/facial-recognition-link-photos-reunites-missing-child-familb
« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 06:11:58 PM by Concerned »

Concerned

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #267 on: August 13, 2017, 09:30:32 AM »
Sometimes agencies that work tirelessly to reunite kidnapped children are able to successfully find and reunite a missing child with their family.

And, this is how amazing the reunion can be (see video). Bless all the men, women, businesses and organizations that work tirelessly to find and reunite. And, all those that work tirelessly to keep children from being taken from their families/kidnapped.

Boy Reunited with Family After Kidnapped Four Years Prior - https://youtu.be/fDJyl1NhKUY

Source: https://youtu.be/fDJyl1NhKUY
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 10:31:01 AM by Concerned »

Long Gone

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #268 on: August 25, 2017, 06:33:35 AM »
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/lost-wallet-air-canada-cab-driver-jamie-don-ross-1.4260623

'Thank goodness for Halifax,' says musician after Good Samaritans save the day
Strangers helped musician Don Ross after he forgot his laptop and lost his wallet
By Cassie Williams, CBC News Posted: Aug 24, 2017

A Halifax musician is sharing his story about the kindness of strangers in the hopes that it will make people feel a little less hopeless in these trying times.

Earlier this week Don Ross had a bad day.

"I had a really forgetful day the other day, which is kind of not usual. I'm usually super organized on the road 'cause I've been doing it for so long," he said.

First, he left his laptop in his rental car in Toronto, but got it back about 30 minutes later.

"That was lucky break No. 1."

He then boarded the flight back home.

At some point in the flight, he took his wallet out of his backpack. Upon leaving the plane in Halifax, he checked the seat pocket in front of him several times for his personal items and it was empty.

'I trust you'

Thinking he had all his possessions, Ross then hopped in a cab from Jamie Limousine and Taxi Service.

"I start rifling through my backpack looking for my wallet to pay him and I realized my wallet is nowhere to be found. So I'm pleading with the guy, 'I'm really sorry. I'm so embarrassed. I seem to have lost my wallet,'" said Ross.

"He said, 'Don't worry about it. Here's my business card. I trust you.'"

"Jamie," whose real name is Ismail Kadir, asked Ross to give him a call when he got his wallet back.

"And I thought, 'Thank goodness for Halifax. This is amazing,'" said Ross.

Kadir, who has been driving taxis since 2004, said people forget or lose their wallets from time to time.

"He kind of looked a little exhausted about it," Kadir said. "I said, 'Don't worry about it.' I wasn't worried about getting paid back or not as long as I [could] take him home safe and he'd be happy ? that's all I was worried about."

Important to share good news

Ross's wallet was eventually found the next day on the floor of the plane that had returned to Toronto. The airline sent it back to him.

"I got it back and everything was in it, even the $10 bill," he said.

He gave Kadir a call yesterday and paid for his fare ? with a healthy tip, of course.

"He's a really lovely man and he was extremely kind to me," said Ross.

Ross has shared his story online, saying it's important to share a positive story for a change, especially with a steady stream of Donald Trump controversy clogging up people's social media feeds.

"With that in mind, I thought it was really important that when something really remarkably kind and wonderful happened that I make a stink about it on Facebook," he said.

People 'by default' are good

Ross said airlines, particularly Air Canada, get a "bad rap."

"Over the years I've remained a loyal customer only because 99 times out of 100 everything goes extremely well, very smoothly. I get treated with great respect. I'm a very regular customer so they know me. They take really good care of my instruments most of the time."

A few years ago on a trip back from Germany, Ross's guitar was badly damaged. He said it wasn't clear exactly when the guitar broke ? whether it was during the Air Canada flight, on a United Airlines connecting flight or during the Transportation and Safety Administration screening in the U.S.

But Ross said after posting about it online, Air Canada immediately tweeted at him saying they would pay to have it fixed.

"Amazingly enough, the guitar actually improved after being repaired," said Ross. "My feeling is that people, their default setting is to be good. They're decent."

Don Ross had a really bad day earlier this week but a few Good Samaritans turned things around for him.

Long Gone

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Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« Reply #269 on: September 01, 2017, 11:07:03 AM »
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/marvin-swirsky-alma-potter-springdale-woodbox-memory-1.4265152

'Like a substitute mother': Springdale woman tracks down boy she cared for 70 years ago
Alma Potter, Marvin Swirsky last saw each other in 1946
By Garrett Barry, CBC News Posted: Sep 01, 2017

A full lifetime had passed since she last saw him, but for some reason Alma Potter couldn't get this little boy out of her mind.

She had been waiting to see Marvin Swirsky again for the better part of 70 years. The last time she saw him, he was just six years old ? and looked nothing like he does now, at 77.

And she has changed too: Marriages had come and gone, and children were born and raised, giving way to grandchildren.

But there was always something that brought her back to that little boy, who she used to care for when she was a live-in maid with his family in post-war Corner Brook.
"It's something that's been with me all my life. Besides my own family, I talked about those people like I belonged to them."

All these years, Potter kept a handwritten note that little Marvin Swirsky wrote to her on Jan. 24, 1946.

"Dear Alma. In the woodbox of your memory, let me be a chip," it reads. "By: Marvin at five years."

When Swirsky read that note again ? during a visit with Potter at her home in Springdale in August ? he couldn't get through it.

He and his wife had travelled from Toronto, where they live, to be reunited with Potter, who is now 89.

After a more than 70-year wait, it was unbelievable moment.
"Do I look like the little boy that you knew?" Swirsky asked when he walked through the kitchen door, and saw Potter for the first time in decades.

"Oh my Marvin. Oh my goodness," Potter replied. "I never thought the day would come, my darling."

For two hours, the pair traded memories, held hands, and relived the days of their youth.

Memories kept

Potter was just 17 when she left a job in Lewisporte for a more lucrative position in Corner Brook. The Swirsky family offered to pay $20 a month.
She travelled by passenger boat, and train, and finally met Marvin, then just a young boy.

"They treated me like I was a guest, not a maid," she said. The Swirskys would serve her supper first, she remembers, and then she would serve them after that.

"And this little boy? Oh, he was a part of me."
Potter spent a year and a half with the Swirsky family, leaving a few weeks before she married, just shy of her 19th birthday.

She never forgot them.

"He was the sweetest boy that you would hope to meet in life," she said. "If his mother said go to bed by 7, he would be in bed by 7. All the little boys would be out playing, and this little darling was in bed."

The impact that he and his mother had on Potter was profound ? so much so that Potter named one of her four children Marvin in his honour.
The Swirskys were a Jewish family who immigrated to Corner Brook from Poland.

On this Saturday reunion, Swirsky learned something new about his mother. According to Potter, she had designs to return her family to Israel, and had petitioned Potter to join them.

"That's where she wanted to go? See, I didn't know that!" Marvin said.

The reunion began to take shape three years ago.

"I was thinking about him for a while, and I haven't really thought about him in that way for years, and I said 'I got to find Marvin Swirsky!,'" Potter said.

An online search revealed his name, and the phone number at his home in Ontario.

"It was like a bolt out of the blue," said Swirsky, of that first phone call ? which was redirected to a home in Florida where he was staying.

"It was shocking because, you know, when she says, 'This is Alma' ... If someone said to me, describe her when you were young, I couldn't," he said. "But I remember Alma as being one of the first people that was in our house that looked after me."

With both his parents often busy working at their Corner Brook store,  Alma Potter was important to little Marvin.

"She was like a substitute mother to me, and it's just special, that's all," he said. "Very special."

Having his substitute mother around again, holding his hand and speaking sweetly ? it's brought back lots of memories for Swirsky.

"It's almost like having my mother beside me," he said, fighting back tears.


Potter said given her age, she's not sure she'll have another chance to have this moment again, which makes the reunion with Swirsky even more special.

"Only in my heart do I see a five-year-old boy. There's an old man with a beard now," she said. "A grandfather! But it's just as precious.

"I feel tremendous, I can't describe how I feel. Because I loved that boy, he was just like one of my own."


Marvin Swirsky fought through tears as he tried to read out a note he wrote for Alma Potter when he was just five years old. (Garrett Barry/CBC)