EquuSearch and the Power of Volunteers
The excellent blog Classically Liberal has a stunning post up about the creation of TexasEquuSearch, a volunteer search and recovery team that tracks down missing people. The group came about after family members of missing persons grew frustrated by often dismissive and ineffective police efforts.
Bob Smither, the Libertarian Party candidate who had a good run for Rep. Tom DeLay's old seat in Texas, was instrumental in the group's formation by Tim Miller.
Laura's father, Bob Smither, is a Libertarian Party activist and believes in the power of private co-operation to solve problems. He and his wife, Gay, founded the Laura Recovery Center to assist in the search for missing persons. The Center is also an entirely private organization that takes no tax funding.
One day Miller was working with Smither at the Center when they started talking. Smither suggested to Miller that, since he was an avid horseman, he might be able to organize a volunteer horseback search team. Miller agreed and word was spread. Soon Miller had 45 people regularly attending monthly meetings.
But some volunteers didn't have horses. But they had boats, planes, even helicopters. Others had all terrain vehicles with night vision and infrared equipment. Some were certified rescue divers.
Out of his own frustration with the police, and from Bob Smither's libertarian vision for solving problems, Texas EquuSearch was born. It now has 2,500 members and has helped people, not just in Texas, but around the world. Miller says that their goal is that "no family has to experience the feeling of hopelessness and loneliness if a loved one should ever disappear." It is a mission they take seriously and one they perform long after the police have moved on to other matters.
Hat Tip: Jim Peron of The Institute for Free Enterprise.