I want to start with an amazing story of love, loyalty and determination. Kyle Fleischmann went missing 11/9/07 in my hometown Charlotte NC. (details and updates can be found at helpfindkyle.com or on facebook helpfindkylefleischmann).
Kyle vanished into thin air, literally. But almost immediately an army of Kyle's family, friends and total strangers marshaled themselves to find him. I have no new news here -- the media has done a nice job covering the many poignant angles of this story -- Kyle's incredibly courageous Mom Barbara enduring cancer surgery shortly after his disappearance, Kyle's Dad and siblings pro actively leading the search efforts. And then there are Kyle's many, many friends who turned missing person search tactics on their head -- by first caring; and then working tirelessly and smart his friends both virtual and flesh and blood have used the best of the internet to turn over every stone and to keep the story alive. 59,188 members on Daniel Scagnelli's Facebook and thousands more on MySpace are searching, posting and most importantly talking about Kyle.
So what do photo buttons have to do with all this? Plenty, I think. The timing is prophetic but I have been working the past few months on a partnership with a major missing person organization to provide photo buttons as search tools -- or as I like to say "personal billboards that walk and talk". It has been my vision to use photo buttons as a simple yet powerful tool to get a missing person's face out quickly, pervasively and broadly. Anyone can go to the website and buy one button -- We don't know where Kyle may be but now we have people in GA, FL, MA, CA, KY, MD and several other states who are today wearing his button at the mall, at the football game, at work....! Buttons of Hope is committed to helping individuals like Kyle's friends and organizations like the Kristen Foundation with a new and innovate spin on an old tool -- photo buttons.
Thanks to everyone involved with the search for Kyle, especially his family, Daniel, Bryan, Dan, Lauren and Jason for letting me help and a special thanks to Joan Petruski who though her non-profit Kristen Foundation has been working tirelessly to help reunite loved ones under the most dire circumstances.
Now go help find Kyle and wear your button!