Monday, July 10, 2006

7/10/06 A Matter of Urgency

Updated on 10/30/07 (Check for the updates at the end of the original section.)

I need to interrupt my ongoing story for a matter of an urgent nature.

Yesterday I mailed a letter to the President of the United States. I don’t recall ever having done that in my life, or if I did, it’s slipped my mind. The point is that I feel this situation requires action from the highest level of government possible. I will backtrack to yesterday:

I came across something today on the internet which was rather alarming. It concerns the continued existence of the National Center for Missing Adults. (NCMA) I knew they had been struggling as of late for several reasons, but I did not know how serious it was until I read these words on a new blog written by Kym Pasquilini, Founder of the NCMA.

Kym wrote:

“Yet, this agency expended and depleted its own funds assisting Hurricane Katrina Victims and is due to close within only weeks. As the only national clearinghouse in the nation we have begged and pleaded for increased funding and reimbursement from the federal government. What happens to families during the next catastrophe? What happens to the thousands of Alzheimer's patients or the victims of foul play we have registered here?”

Yes, indeed, what would happen? Who would those families turn to in their time of need?

Readers who are familiar with our cause will wonder why I would pose that question when there are several organizations who handle missing adults’ cases. What many do not understand is that the majority of these are not equipped to handle a large influx of cases. Many, like us, have no paid staff, no full time volunteer staff, no office and a very small budget. If the NCMA were to close, we would NOT be able to adequately serve these families. As you can now imagine, there would be many far reaching effects stemming from a possible NCMA shutdown aside from the obvious:

Families need immediate answers when a person they love becomes missing. Every minute counts and lost time can mean the difference between life and death and an active case versus a cold case. Most people do not know what to do and where to turn. They need a national source to guide them on taking the necessary actions to bring about a recovery of the missing person. They need the NCMA, which has been established as our national missing adults clearinghouse.

This is the letter I sent to the President, the Vice-President, and my US Senator.

July 8, 2006

Dear President Bush,

I am writing to you about a bill, HR 2103, which has languished in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security since 6/6/2005. HR 2103 authorizes the Attorney General to provide grants for organizations to find missing adults, and specifically to extend funding in the amount of $4,000,000 annually to the National Center for Missing Adults. (NCMA) This would allow them to continue to assist families of missing adults nationwide.

This bill has not made any progress in over a year. The government supports the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, (NCMEC) providing up to 35 million dollars per year in funding, but yet we cannot help the NCMA with 4 million? NCMEC does a fine job, but they do not assist in missing adults’ cases, leaving thousands of families without help or hope of recovering their missing adult loved one.

It has also been brought to my attention that the NCMA assisted with Hurricane Katrina missing adults at a cost to them of over $200,000. The government said they would reimburse them, but at this time has not. This situation, coupled with the fact that HR 2103 has not come to fruition, has placed the NCMA in the position of reducing staff, and even being forced to close their doors if swift action is not taken.

Families of missing adults have few resources available to them as they search for their missing loved one. Hundreds upon hundreds of organizations exist to assist in missing children’s cases, but there are fewer than a hundred to assist with missing adults cases. As the main support system for families of missing adults nationwide, the NCMA has provided a highly visible means to bring awareness for their missing loved one. We cannot allow this valuable resource to cease to exist or for their efforts to be curtailed because of a lack of funding.

Even though you have not experienced this tragic situation in your own life, try to put yourself in our shoes, if only for a moment. The typical family of a missing adult does not have the means or knowledge to begin the necessary legwork on their own family member’s case. They must rely upon external sources to help them, such as the NCMA, to have hopes for a positive outcome.

I ask you to find out why HR 2103 sits idle in the hands of our government’s representatives while the NCMA’s monetary resources have been depleted as the result of our government’s request of them. What can be done to ensure HR 2103 is signed into law? Secondarily, I ask you to inquire of the US Department of Justice the status of reimbursing the NCMA for assisting with over 13,000 Hurricane Katrina victims.

This matter is critical, and effects human lives; not just the missing persons themselves, but also the left-behind families who suffer through the agony of waking up daily, not knowing what has become of their missing loved ones. I know this from personal experience, as my own son has been missing without a trace for over 5 years.

I ask you to help in any way that you can in this matter. I would like to be able to wake up in the morning and know that everyone I love and care for is safe and happy, just as you are able. I speak for thousands of other families across the nation in saying this. If the NCMA continues to be crippled financially, then our numbers will surely increase. I don’t want to see this happen, and I am confident you don’t either. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Kelly Jolkowski,
Mother of Missing Jason Jolkowski
President and Founder,
Project Jason
www.projectjason.org
Voice for the Missing
htttp://voice4themissing.blogspot.com/



CC: Vice-President Cheney
Senator Lee Terry, Nebraska


Yes, NCMEC receives close to 35 million annually from our government. I fail to understand then why 4 million per year for missing adults is asking too much. Why is this issue at a standstill? Adults continue to disappear each and every day. The situation is not going to go away. We need all of the support and help we can get.

I can also tell you from personal experience that the donations just aren’t there. People think of other charities first for their annual giving, rather than organizations which assist families of the missing. While every dollar counts and helps, and we are not discouraging that, this situation is going to require more than a few donations. It’s going to require a concentrated effort of concerned citizens to make it clear to the decision makers in Washington that they MUST act, and act now.

I need you, the reader, to put yourself in our shoes, just as I asked in my letter. I ask you to also write to your US Senator as a minimum. You may use my letter as a template or craft your own. Next, forward the link to this blog entry or a letter of your own to people you know who will take action.

For those who might be wondering, no, those online petitions will not help, contrary to popular belief. Lawmakers need to hear directly from their constituents. Electronic and unverifiable signatures will not suffice.

The NCMA has been there for all of us who live in the not knowing. They need our help and support now. Don’t let this happen. Take action, please.

Thank you.

Update, 7/15/06:

Please see Kym's blog as linked below for an update. Do keep in mind that while this is very good news, it is really like a small bandaid placed over a large wound. We need to continue our efforts to get full reimbursement from the DOJ and also get HR 2103 passed. There are a number of us working to get the media involved, and you may feel free to help in that respect. In numbers, we can make our voices heard.


Related links:

NCMA Homepage: http://www.theyaremissed.org/ncma/index.php

What the NCMA does: http://www.theyaremissed.org/ncma/content.php?webid=about_ncma

NCMA page explaining this situation, which includes a link for you to find your US Senator’s name and address:
http://www.theyaremissed.org/alert/index.html

Text of HR 2103 and link to check the bill status:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.R.2103::

Contact information for the Whitehouse: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Kym's blog: http://while-here.blogspot.com/

Link to this blog entry:
http://voice4themissing.blogspot.com/2006/07/71006-matter-of-urgency.html

This update was posted on 10/30/07:

Monday, November 5th, 2007, might be remembered by those involved in the missing persons cause as a day in which a huge step backwards was taken.

Unless something major breaks in the way of funding, this will be the day in which the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA) will close their doors. Thousands of families will be affected, now and in the future.

Why is this happening?

The answer is complex, but in summary:

· The NCMA stepped up and assisted over 13,000 victims of Hurricane Katrina and was to be reimbursed for those expenditures, which were close to $250,000. At this time, the NCMA has only received $50,000 to cover the work they did at the request of the Dept. of Justice.

· The 2007 re-authorization of Kristen’s Law, (HR 423) which would provide the NCMA with up to $4 million per year in funding for 10 years, continues to remain in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security committee, with no action taken to help the center. This re-authorization effort has been in the works unsuccessfully since 2005.

· As experienced not only by the NCMA, but by other national organizations, including ours, the public does not generally consider missing adults’ assistance nonprofits as a part of their charitable giving plans. Corporations are also hesitant to provide funding, and grant makers don’t seem responsive, either. This lack of support has also contributed to the problem.

What will save the NCMA at this late hour?

If an “angel” company or person comes forward who can help keep the center operating until the Kristen’s Law Re-authorization funds are released.

AND/OR

The DOJ immediately releases the funds owed to the NCMA from their work related to Hurricane Katrina.

What Can I Do?

I spent time talking with Kym Pasqualini, founder of the NCMA, late last night, and based upon the conversation, this is what she asks of you if you feel moved to help with a final effort.

· Kym feels that, out of all the national media, the person who could best help with exposure and a push for action is Larry King of CNN’s Larry King Live Show. She says that Larry’s show is watched by many members of congress and that he is not afraid to step on toes to get something accomplished. If she could get a spot on his show as soon as possible, she plans to talk candidly about the situation.

If you can help with this step, please write to Larry King at larrykinglive@cnn.com and ask him to have Kym on as a guest immediately. Keep in mind that even if a spot on the show is not successful at moving congress or getting the Katrina reimbursement, it could reach the “angel” company or person as mentioned above.

· Contact Peter D. Keisler, acting Attorney General, and let him know how you feel about missing adults losing their national clearinghouse and resource. Mention the 2007 re-authorization of Kristen’s Law, (HR 423) You can also write to Vice President Dick Cheney at vice_president@whitehouse.gov The White House fax is 202-456-2461. Use AskDOJ@usdoj.gov to send correspondence to the Attorney General’s office.

· The webpage for the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security is http://judiciary.house.gov/committeestructure.aspx?committee=6 Once there, click on the names of the various members and be redirected to their own websites with contact information. You can also write to your congressman.

Time is quickly running out for this year’s session, so please send your letters right away.

No matter what happens, we need to find a way to gain more support from the general public for our missing persons’ assistance organizations. We cannot allow the continued disintegration of all we have worked so hard for in the past few years.

Not only would the loss of the NCMA represent less support for families of the missing, but it also means that another avenue of training for law enforcement is gone. (When fully funded, the NCMA had assisted with providing specialized missing adults investigative training through the excellent Fox Valley Technical College.)

More Information:

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/614309,CST-NWS-missingside22.article

There is a letter above that we used in our original campaign. I have re-written that letter for use in this campaign. You may use this letter to send to our government representatives and the Attorney General’s office. You will find this letter below my signature.

I know I have asked much of you, so if you can only do one thing suggested in this letter, write to Larry King and ask him to have Kym on as a guest right away. Remember when the NCMA was there for you? Now you can be there for them.

If we do not try, then we will never succeed. If we do try, then we have a chance.

There is always hope.

Kelly Jolkowski, Mother of Missing Jason Jolkowski
President and Founder, Project Jason
http://www.projectjason.org/

Dear ,

I am writing to you about a bill, HR 423, which is now stagnant in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. HR 423 authorizes the Attorney General to provide grants for organizations to find missing adults, and specifically to extend funding in the amount of $4,000,000 annually to the National Center for Missing Adults. (NCMA) This would allow them to continue to assist families of missing adults nationwide.

This bill has not made any progress this year. The government supports the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, (NCMEC) providing up to 35 million dollars per year in funding, but yet we cannot help the NCMA with 4 million? NCMEC does a fine job, but they do not assist in missing adults’ cases, leaving thousands of families without help or hope of recovering their missing adult loved one.

It has also been brought to my attention that the NCMA assisted with Hurricane Katrina missing adults at a cost to them of over $200,000. The government said they would reimburse them, but at this time has not. This situation, coupled with the fact that HR423 has not come to fruition, has placed the NCMA in the position of reducing staff, and even being forced to close their doors by early November if swift action is not taken.

Families of missing adults have few resources available to them as they search for their missing loved one. Hundreds upon hundreds of organizations exist to assist in missing children’s cases, but there are fewer than a twenty to assist with missing adults cases. As the main support system for families of missing adults nationwide, the NCMA has provided a highly visible means to bring awareness for their missing loved one. We cannot allow this valuable resource to cease to exist because of a lack of funding.

Even though you have not experienced this tragic situation in your own life, try to put yourself in our shoes, if only for a moment. The typical family of a missing adult does not have the means or knowledge to begin the necessary legwork on their own family member’s case. They must rely upon external sources to help them, such as the NCMA, to have hopes for a positive outcome.

I ask you to find out why HR 423 sits idle in the hands of our government’s representatives while the NCMA’s monetary resources have been depleted as the result of our government’s request of them. What can be done to ensure HR 423 is signed into law? Secondarily, I ask you to inquire of the US Department of Justice the status of reimbursing the NCMA for assisting with over 13,000 Hurricane Katrina victims.

This matter is critical, and effects human lives; not just the missing persons themselves, but also the left-behind families who suffer through the agony of waking up daily, not knowing what has become of their missing loved ones. [I know this from personal experience, as my own son has been missing without a trace for over 6 years.] < Alter this to fit your story

I ask you to help in any way that you can in this matter. I would like to be able to wake up in the morning and know that everyone I love and care for is safe and happy, just as you are able. I speak for thousands of other families across the nation in saying this. If the NCMA ceases to exist, then our numbers will surely increase. I don’t want to see this happen, and I am confident you don’t either. Thank you.

Sincerely,

26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelly, this is appalling. I cannot believe that funding is not there for NCMA ! Where will all these missing adults be listed except in their individual state sites, if NCMA closes down ? Missing Adults are important too, and their families need National Center to get their faces out there.

I wrote to the President, Vice-President, my state Senators, and members of Congress. If we all write letters maybe we can get this done and QUICKLY !!!

This is so sad, and so unfair. We can fund all the unneccesary pork barrel add ons to bills but we can't get the NCMA funded....it doesn't make sense.

Shelley Brown
President
Tennessee Alliance for Families of the Missing

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kelly, i agree with shelley, this is appalling!! where do i send my letters to.. as in addresses! my dad is close with president bush he meets with him every year in florida for election.so ill see what i can do!!

Melissa Palmer

11:29 AM  
Blogger Kelly Jolkowski said...

Thanks to everyone. We've had a tremendous response so far.

Melissa, please check the related links in the blog entry to answer your question. All you have to do is enter your zip code on that webpage and it will give you your senator's name and address.

Kelly

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am notifying everyone in Orlando, Florida!!! We are trying to find Jennifer Kesse!!
http://www.jenniferkesse.com/

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Carol said...

Kelly, this is devistating!

I have used your format and sent letters to Pres. Bush, Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Gordon Smith and to the current director of FEMA, R. David Paulison in the hope that they can help. With the amount of money that has been blatantly wasted in the Katrina recovery process there is NO reason that our gov't. can't take care of those who pulled thru to help in our nations' time of need.

I hope it helps!

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelly, I can't believe this is happening. Thank you for keeping us informed so maybee we can help get funding for NCMA.

I wrote to the President, and also my State Senator Richard E. Neal. The need to do something about this, and hopefully this will help. Thank you so much you are truely an amazing person.

Megan Davis

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is all the media attention??? Why did Laura Bush congratulate NCMEC on finding 5,000 children from the hurricane but not NCMA for the 13,000 plus they found???????? Why is congress stonewalling NCMA? Where's the media??????? I'm outraged and disgusted and I will not be silenced!!!

Marjorie Higgins
Washington, DC

5:01 PM  
Blogger Kelly Jolkowski said...

Good question, Marjorie!

The Phoenix media has even ignored Kym's requests for media exposure. A group of us has started to notify other large media outlets. I called DC today and left comments for President Bush.

We need more help. We need someone to listen. We won't stand idle in this.

It's for all of us, even though so many do not understand.

Kelly

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am totally outraged to hear this!! The NCMA is the first place I turned to when my mother disappeared.

We can't allow this to happen. We have to speak out and speak loud!! I too am sending a letter to the President, the Senators in my home state of Illinois and the state of Kentucky where my mother is missing from.

We have to do this for our missing loved ones and all of the families that rely on the loving and caring support that the NCMA offers.

Dawn Vowell
Daughter of Missing Sandra K. Travis

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will we get rid of some of the ridiculous things our government funds with our tax dollars and put the money to good use. I am outraged about this. I will write letters to my state and federal government, as many as it takes to do my part. Please let us know what else we can do Kelly. I will pass this info along
Melissa

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelly,
I am using your format and I am sending letters to everyone I can think of. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do. I am outraged by this. Personally I don't believe that I recieved the appropriate help from my local township when my husband went missing and I don't want to see any others go through this without the support of the government.I have also passed your letter on to ever email I have. Hopefully this will help.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous KIKI said...

contact the bill gates family as they are providing funds and gifts to projects such as this.GOOD LUCK

8:30 AM  
Anonymous ALWALTON said...

I WILL WRITE TO THE SENATOR IN SC TO PLEA FOR HELP FOR THIS CAUSE. THIS NCMA HAS BEEN A GREAT HELP TO ME. IF DONATION IS ACCEPTED LET ME KNOW WHERE TO SEND THEM. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO STAND IDILE WHILE THIS GO UNHEARD .

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
I had registered my uncle with NCMA when he went missing in March of 2006. I can testify that nobody really cared that a 48 year old Korean adult was mysteriously missing. The MEDIA does not care, thus the public never feels there's a sense of urgency!!!!! The investigator didn't feel it was extremeley urgent to find him. So then WHO will care if not NCMA?! I've read that the governmenet has a POOOR system of keeping track if missing people and their dental/DNA records. The investigator actually told me to turn to NCMA for help! Basically, nobody takes missing adults seriously except for their loved ones and NCMA. I'll write letters to the government to keep NCMA open!

10:13 AM  
Anonymous sandi said...

To whom it may concern, I know the feeling. Two years ago my daughter was missing, she is a volunerable adult, but she was 22 so the police up here did not take it serious because she is an adult. I was one of the lucky ones that brought my daughter home safely. I did not have guardianship of her and so therefore she was just another missing person. If I can do anything to help let me know. Sandi

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NCMA was of great assistance and a valuable resource when our agency contacted an at risk adult who did not know her name, her address or any related information. The direction and network of other investigators was a valuable asset and resulted in the discovery of her identity and allowed the Department of Human Services to provide the necessary care to protect this individual.

10:14 PM  
Blogger marianne asher-chapman said...

Kelly, I sent a letter to the president and vice president.I am putting together one for my state's senators and I am sending a letter to the editor of my local newspaper,the Jefferson City News Tribune. It will be interesting to see if they print it.Thanks for getting this started. Marianne Asher-Chapman...mother of missing Michelle Angela Yarnell

3:38 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Hi Kelly,

I added my voice to yours and sent a letter to President Bush, My Governor, and my congress people. This is such an important issue. I'm embarrased to say that I didn't even know that the Center for Missing and Exploited Adults adults existed. I'm going to look very hard at this website and see what is there where I can contribute.
Sincerely,
Teresa M. Wegryn
Monmouth Junction, NJ

8:32 PM  
Anonymous mariannesong said...

I just wanted to say that the Jefferson City News Tribune printed my letter to the editor in last sunday's (8-13-06) paper. Kelly,thank you for letting me use your letter for the format,it helped. Marianne Asher-Chapman

1:43 PM  
Blogger Kelly Jolkowski said...

I would like to thank everyone who has taken up this cause within a cause. We all have to share the work in order to make things happen. It has been a blessing to see everyone come together.

Kelly

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Donna said...

After reading this I am now more heart broken than ever!!!! I have just recently had my 18 year old daughter go missing & I thought I'd be able to turn to NCMA for some help in, at the very least, listing her name & description!!! I leave here with heavy heart still not knowing what to do... after having a son that died I am fiercly protective of my other 3 children... that is why you can count on me to write letters, scream, yell, & pitch a fit if that's what it takes to be heard & get something done!!!! THANK YOU FOR BRINGING THIS TO EVERYONES ATTENTION!!!!!

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted my letter and recevied a reply from Steve Buyer, member of Congress about supporting H.R.2103, Kristen's Act Reauthorization stating that new legislation needed to be reintroduced in the 110th Congress, which convenes in January. Any news on this?

Jan
Kyle's Mom

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Gail White said...

I never knew all the missing or about all the organizations, but now that I'm opening my eyes and I will try in all my power to help.
Gail White IL

9:39 AM  
Anonymous annerose said...

These comments have been invaluable to me as is this whole site. I thank you for your comment.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Marian DeRossett said...

Hello and this is terrible this is going on.I live in Maryland and just joined a task force here for the missing and Unidentified.I am also a member of Porchlight for the Missing and UID.s.We have many boards and cases of the missing.I will help anyway I can by sending letters and donate.our website


May God be with you wonderful people

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fell very sorry I can do little thing because I am not US citizun and not so many missing case in our country,so I felt I could help..

1:56 PM  

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