Searching for Hope

This weekend, while many people spent their mornings leisurely sipping coffee while reading a newspaper, at a farmers market, at a ball field, or shopping for gifts, there were people choosing to spend their weekend another way.  They chose to leave their homes in various parts of Florida, coming in trucks with trailers, with four wheelers and generators, maps and flashlights, and dogs of all types.  They met in the cold morning air, full of coffee and energy, and with a focus on their goal. 

While some people thought about what gifts to buy a loved one for Christmas, they thought of how to give a gift to someone they love that could never be bought and the value of never measured. 

Sunday morning, while many went to church to seek God’s love, they went out to be God’s love exemplified. 

They thought they were searching for my brother.

And they were, but they were searching for more.  They were searching for renewed hope for us, that people still care and that we may one day find him.  They were searching for a way to show their love to someone who has worked beside them and become important to them, my Mom. 

They didn’t find Austin.  But they did find hope.  They did find a way to show love.

As the group pulled out Sunday evening, after days of exhausting work, they might have felt like they hadn’t brought anything back to us.  They would be wrong.

Thank you.


  1. Thank you Anita. Your family demonstrated just how much you truely appreciate our efforts by making sure we had food, water and hotel rooms for rest.
    And no, we will never give up we will always search until we find him.
    Holly FRST in Tallahassee, Fl.

  2. Beautiful story Anita, whenever your family needs us we will all be there…every time for how ever long it takes. Shelly & K-9 Mija

  3. Anonymous says:

    Anita, we all love your Mom so much she is such an awesome person with strength beyond compare. Your stories are inspiring and just beautiful. Thank you for the food, water, hotel ect. to make this search happen. Any time day or night that you or your family needs any of us you know we will be there.
    M & M SWF K-9

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