A Profile of Tim Miller and Texas EquuSearch
The TES Backbone
Barbara Gibson, one of the key office staff members, got involved in TES after experiencing the back-to-back deaths of five people in her family. This made her acutely aware of the anguish that people go through when they lose someone they love, so she decided to volunteer to assist with the organization. "I had never lost anyone that I loved before," she commented, "and the grieving process was staggering. Tim Miller was the one that helped bring me out on the other side of it. He's probably the most compassionate man I've ever met."
Also assisting in the office are George Adlerz, Cindy Wisdom, Barbara
Collins, and volunteers who pop in when things get overwhelming. "It's a major
team effort," Gibson says. She herself may work on anything from marketing the organization, answering phones, coordinating media, organizing fundraisers, and keeping the office in order, but her passion is doing research on cold cases. She also looks to the extra touches. She was so moved by Miller's story of loss, for example, that she co-authored "Laura's song," which plays on a DVD about the origins of TES and its cases. "We wanted a song that didn't pull any punches as to what families of missing persons go through," she explains, "and to send the message to not give up." (This DVD will be available on the Web site.) Gibson had walked with Miller along Calder Road, where Laura and the other girls had been left, and says that Miller often receives a strong impression there of Laura speaking to him from beyond, urging him not to give up.
"Tim has created so much more than just a search organization," Gibson adds. "It's a place to heal and rechannel your energy into helping others. Many of our members are the families of missing persons whom we found deceased. Collectively, I feel all of our broken pieces help to make us whole again and better people than we were before."
These members find solace from TES, and even after their loved ones are found, they keep returning to the Web site to follow the progress in other cases of missing people. Some offer to assist with such functions as running a newsletter, which may turn into a slick, full color magazine.
"There's an unusual synchronicity that flows through our work," Gibson affirms. "Whatever it is that we need on a given case seems to appear at the right time. I'm always meeting people at random who wind up playing a needed role at some point."
When asked why she puts so much effort into the organization, she points to the many letters of thanks and the awards from other organizations that recognize how they have filled in holes for the families and delivered a needed psychological respite. "The most beautiful aspect of a search," says Gibson, "is seeing a community pull together to
help find someone they don't even know. It becomes very personal to everyone
involved. Tim has harnessed the power of compassion and created a means for
others to unite and reach out to those in crisis. People truly do want to help
Summing up her feelings about the work, she says, "It's a place where heart and soul overcome heartbreak and despair through the unity of spirit among our volunteers. I've never seen anything more beautiful than the selflessness and determination of our volunteers."
Among the most impressive efforts are the people who are willing to leave their homes and work in places far away, for a considerable period of time. The synchronicity that Gibson mentions has occurred in surprising ways.