Life is funny sometimes. Here’s what happened:
- The book I just finished revising, After the Storm, involves the disappearance of a central adult character. (I’m not giving anything away; the reader will know this in the first few pages).
- If a commenter on my blog has a link connected to her name, I’ll often click on the link to see if that person has her own blog.
- Denise is one such commenter, familiar to those of you who regularly spend time on my blog. So one day I clicked on her name and the link took me to Project Jason , which turned out to be a–you guessed it–site for families of the missing. Kind of a spooky coincidence!
- I contacted Denise to see if she’d be willing to help me with some final research details. Denise told me she is “just” a volunteer with the organization, and put me in touch with the founder, Kelly Jolkowski. I spoke with Kelly on the phone for about an hour, and she was gracious and generous and full of the information I needed. I also learned about her own story: Jason, her shy, gentle and kind-hearted nineteen-year-old son, disappeared without a trace from the family driveway while waiting for a ride to work. That was seven long years ago. can you imagine having your child vanish into thin air? Realizing how few resources there were for the families of missing people, especially missing adults, Kelly and her husband started Project Jason, a non-profit organization, designed to offer hope and assistance to the families of the missing. As I spoke to Kelly on the phone, I could imagine being one of those family members. How desperate I’d be for someone like Kelly, who could offer me her wealth of knowledge and her compassion.
- In honor of Jason’s 27th birthday, Project Jason is in the midst of a fund-raising drive to raise $2700 by October 6, the 5th anniversary of the organization’s founding. This is truly a “kitchen table” organization, a real Mom-and-Pop venture, in more ways than one. I’ve sent in my $27. Maybe some of you will be moved to do the same when you read this family’s story .
- Thank you Kelly, and thank you Denise, for your help with my story and its characters. More importantly, thanks for the help you give those flesh and blood people who need that help in a way I can only imagine.