These are the best people in the world. They reaffirm my faith in mankind. Sierra LaMar has been missing for more than 8-months, an arrest has been made and the suspect has been charged with her murder. Yet, a dedicated group of volunteers return week after week to brave the elements and look for Sierra LaMar.
This morning we woke up to torrential rains as the pineapple express saturated Northern California. Violet and I drove down to Morgan Hill wondering if anybody would even show up. However, the rain subsided as we drove South on Highway 880. By the time we hit San Jose we were able to turn off the windshield wipers as all of the water was already on the ground. When we arrived at the Sierra Search Center in Morgan Hill, the parking lot was full, teams of familiar faces were heading out to their search assignments, and the kitchen ladies were already transitioning from breakfast to lunch.
The changing weather is problematic. Rising reservoirs, creek beds, and saturated ground provide a series of challenges. Expanding reservoirs limit access to certain search sites as they swell ever outward and upward. The swift currents in raging rivers and creeks sweep everything in their path downstream, so searchers must tread softly. Wet, uneven, unpaved ground becomes slippery, endangering all who walk upon it. The possibility of landslides or other forms of shifting earth can change the topography in a heartbeat, as searchers eye hillsides warily.
Yet they remain undeterred. They give of themselves unselfishly; shaking the water off of their rain slickers as their saturated boots squeak across the auditorium floor. “It’s no big deal. This is what we do. If my daughter were missing I would want people to help me find her,” is a refrain often heard around here. The faces are familiar, but in this increasingly fragmented world where everybody seems to vie for attention in the constant struggle to stand apart, they huddle together, grimly determined to defy the ever expanding odds.
Most of them have gone home now, but all have vowed to return next week. Sierra LaMar is missing and there is a small group of amazing people who refuse to give up on her. They are my heroes: they are the best people in the world.