Fliers were printed, people blanketed popular destinations and Facebook became a hub of updates and check-ins.
Thankfully, the 13-year-old middle school student was found unharmed, in a nearby city, and is back home with his family, according to his mother, Melissa Saldana.
“I am so glad he is safe,” Saldana said.
She asked that her son not be identified by name.
“I was terrified when the school called to say he wasn’t in class Friday morning,” Saldana said. “I had dropped him off at school, but he didn’t make it to class. I don’t know how to express the words of gratitude I have for everyone that helped. I am so blessed to live in this community. This was the scariest thing I had ever gone through. I am beyond grateful, my words can’t express how much. By the grace of God, he is home with me.”
Rebecca Luchini, an at-home mom and new resident of Mountain House, saw a missing-child flier on Facebook and rode her bike through her neighborhood, asking anyone if they had seen the local boy.
“As soon as I saw the post on Facebook, I knew I had to help,” Luchini said. “I talked with everyone I saw, including delivery people. I also ran into people that had a stack of fliers and was able to get some to hand out. We were able to check back in with Facebook to see what was happening and post the places we put fliers and what places still needed them.”
More than 850 comments appeared in the original thread posted on the Mountain House group page Friday. Comments continued long after the boy was safe at home, in the form of residents looking to create a protocol to follow in case another child went missing. Ideas included setting up a command center, delegating tasks and organizing a phone tree.
I was impressed at the swiftness with which our community came together to help. It’s times like this when you see the human spirit thrive. It was also refreshing to see Facebook used as a positive and downright helpful tool in the search and comfort of a mother facing uncertainty.
In the weeks ahead, Mountain House residents will be meeting and working on a viable protocol to place in action if another child were to go missing.
• Anne Marie Fuller, National Mrs. Beauties of the Nation and Mrs. California BOTN, is the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.