Thursday, October 25, 2018


And get this, I also work with so many Team Hope Volunteers, who are so very Fabel-mazing!
All That I can say is = “Thank you all!” As each and every one of you has taught me so much!
Back to me, it’s hard to decide where I should start and at the same time very easy for it’s all there. All the memories pain, fear, stress etc. are just a recalled flashback away!
My story started simply enough: a failing marriage with a spouse who threatened to leave at any moment and with the spoken and unspoken threat of, “when I leave you will also never see your daughter again!”
Boom! It happened and as I was either too close to see it coming, or I did not want to believe it was coming at all, I was taken by surprise! Tora, Tora, Tora and I’m Pearl Harbor…
I shall not go into the reasons or the mental avalanche that I went through. None the less, it was hard 29 years ago, for as a Male I was told by one Police officer to be happy, that since the old lady and kid were gone, so why don’t I just go have a beer? At the same time as a Male there is till this day, a stigma of my gender and even more at that time, people thought I must have done something wrong to bring this about. Hey, you’re a Male, just for that alone you probably deserve it!
The fact is that I did not deserve it and no one, Female or Male deserves it, ever!!
My main concern was for my child. Remember the issues that I did not go into? Well they were many and safety of my daughter was paramount. This person did not take and deny me my daughter because she wanted exclusivity. She took her to extract some sort of warped infliction of pain on me. The proof of this is that in the 23 years plus since I got my child back, she has never tried once to see our daughter. Not that you cannot find me either, as I am not that hard to find or that she was denied but her visits even though they had to be supervised.
For the parents like me who have lived through this HELL, they know what I am talking about. We are all members of an exclusive club (family really if you must know for this is what we became), which has the highest entrance dues imaginable: the temporary or permanent loss of your own child. Your own flesh and blood taken due to whatever horror that you can come up with temporary or forever!
After my youngest daughter was recovered I wanted to repay those who helped me!
Eric Sommerfeldt at Child Find Alberta listened to all my rants, frustrations and pain. During all hours, many days and through many, many, many tears.
Even through hard work and a steep learning curve for myself, in a system that at times I had all the odds stacked against me.
I was blessed with the return of my youngest daughter.
Hey, I also had help from GOD, my co-workers, family, friends, lawyers, judges, police and many people who I would never have met if not for this tragedy.
For during this experience, I had made 2 promises to the Lord, that if my prayers were answered and my daughter was returned to me safe and sound, then I would make sure that no one I ever came across would have to go through this horror the hard way, like I did. Promise 2, is that I would also become a follower of Jesus Christ.
From 1989 to 1991, I helped out with finger printing other people’s kids for Child Find Alberta. That was nice and my daughter had fun helping out as well. It was not really what I wanted to do though and it did not fill the parameters of myself made promise.
I nagged and nagged the Child Find Alberta office and in 1991 - 2003 I became a card carrying volunteer of Child Find Alberta.
I was trained by Dave Credland to be a volunteer Case Manager for parents of all missing children. At that time I was on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week for Alberta, British Columbia, N.W.T.'s and the Yukon.
While worked in assisting these parents in exploring their options to locate their children. I also give them emotional support while giving/taking information, for essentially I am really just a good listener.
Though I am not a trained social worker/psychiatrist or lawyer, what I do let them know is that I am a parent. Who like them, has already gone through the same fog of despair of a missing child. I give them my hand and together, we walk as far as we can.
At that time, after I gathered the necessary information I sent it to the full time day staff and CFA investigative unit via whatever means possible. From that point the Case Managers then set up appointments and start the process to hopefully recover the Child.
Since then, I have taken calls all hours of the day and night and in some of the strangest places.
Once, I was out of town and on a power pole assisting in the installation of a new power line to my parent’s new garage. I was passed up a cell phone with a distressed parent of a missing child on the other end by my sister. I then had to rely on my memory of the conversation to write my report. At that time of Child Find Alberta’s operations, I was afraid that I would lose the call, if I moved or hung up for a moment I also could have broken my neck. So I stayed on my pole and the bonus of this call was that I also had a great view of the Rockies!
One of my scariest calls and we all have one, is a call that I received at 3 AM from a young man who informed me that he had run away from out of province and he had just arrived in Calgary. He went on to inform me that he was getting no help from anyone even though he was a reported “runaway”. The Calgary Police and drop in centers would not help him and I was his last resort!
With help from my current wife I was able to contact the Calgary City Police Services and they were going to send a car around to this young man.
He threatened suicide if I did not come down to where he was and help him out. I explained that I could not come down to where he was and that the Police would soon be there to help him out. Then he abruptly said well, “That’s it!” “Thanks for nothing!” “My death will be on your hands” and he hung up.
I sat there in the dark enveloped in the chilling silence and just did not know what to do???
The Police dispatch said that a car was to be dispatched there but how long would that take and was this young man still at that location?
Both my wife and I just stared at each other and I was torn about going but that was not in my training, to go downtown and this was all that I could do.
I did not sleep much that night and the next day I was informed by CFA Dave Credland that when the Police arrived at that young man’s location.

That there was not just one young person but also several others just waiting. Who, if I ignored my training and went down to assist him, they would have promptly robbed me for my efforts. This young man not only was a runaway from out of province but one with a long list of warrants for his arrest.
These are again just two of my bizarre stories that we, who do this kind of volunteer work sometimes, come across.
Through all of these calls and experiences I was lucky enough to keep my promise or promises.
Which were again, to make sure that no one that I ever came across would have to go through this horror the hard way, like I once did ALONE.
I then had the honor in March 2003 to be chosen to attend training and become a member of an organization called Team H.O.P.E. (Help Offering Parents Empowerment), 2003 - 2013 this organization is just one part of the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, which was co-founded by John Walsh of “America’s Most Wanted”, after the murder of his son Adam.
What I do is I take all calls related to Missing Children. I am able to handle these through the extensive training that I received. Also I am now proudly part of the team called the “Grief Busters”, which is Team H.O.P.E.’s most western group of volunteers the Parental Child Abductors with a International Child Abductions. Within this organization I have worked on Missing Children calls all over North America Mexico, Europe, Middle East and Africa
From which, I have learned even newer skills for my self and others to learn from and I use them regularly. For I now have more knowledge to offer and I am making great headway to keeping my 2 self-made promises. For my promise continues and will probably continue till I do not.
Also October 30th 2004, I became a Christian at Centre Street Church, to keep my second part of my 2 promises. I am also in awe at how far I have come since I was the very distraught parent of 29 plus years ago.
Yeah this is me - Sir Richard,

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