The Missing Americans Project

Looking for People and Answers

A logistical plan for successful search campaigns.

A logistical plan for successful search campaigns When a person goes missing in a foreign country the hours will fly by and days can quickly turn into weeks then months. You will become overwhelmed by the flow of information and may quickly become disorganized. Little notes scattered about, important names and numbers written on the back of napkin. As time progresses a common thought becomes “I wish we would have know this last week” or “I wish I did that two weeks ago.” As your team of friends, family members, and volunteers is built, the flow of information increases and becomes more difficult to manage. Duplicated efforts lead to inefficiencies as everyone attempts to forge a new path doing whatever they can to help. No person will expect the ordeal of a missing family member to go beyond those initial days and there is never a shortage of things to work on at any one moment. As information comes in and new contacts are developed, every item will seem like the highest priority, but this never ends and soon you may become reactive vs. proactive, disorganized and overwhelmed. In the first days it is crucial to develop a plan for an extended campaign. Developing a team and assigning specific leaders to handle key areas. Building your network to determine where you will be strong and also where you will need additional support. Fundraising, media coverage, social networking, developing a war room and contact management system are all essential elements to a successful search. Over time I will elaborate on each of these items in a separate blog but for now the overall template should look like this. This is no particular order since each of these is addressed at the same time horizontally across the top of your battle plan. The Team and your War Room Fund Raising, Financing and Liquidity Media Coverage and Spreading the Word Politics and your Representatives Medivac and Medical Preparation Estate Admin Issues and your own Financial Planning Professional SAR Organizations, Humanitarian Groups, Other Resources

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Comment by Jeff Dunsavage on October 13, 2009 at 3:46pm
For anyone here who doesn't know, Jeff Brehm is a friend of my brother Joe and -- along with their fishing buddies -- was an absolutely indispensible asset during our search. Since Joe was lost at sea, he could have made landfall in any of three countries: Honduras, Guatemala, or Belize. While my nephew Joseph and I were working the embassies, the State Department in Washington, and our congresspeople on the East Coast and my brother Ed and cousin Kara were working the West Coast congressfolk, Jeff and his team were breaking the region up into sectors in which each person would have responsibility for identifying and accessing resources. There is no way we could have accomplished as much as we did without relying on them.

Lesson learned:
* Ask for and accept help from those closest to you.
* Assign people to do what they're good at.
* Document everything.
* Support each other and maintain open lines of communication.

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