How I Learned to Love Facebook
Survivor Ronnie Foster with wife and caregiver Connie
On November 21, 2013, when my husband Ronnie, a stroke survivor since 1997, went missing, my love/hate relationship with Facebook took a sharp turn toward love.
The weather was fine, and Ronnie, 67, wanted to take a walk. His path included a road under construction near our home. I would drive him a ways down the road and he would walk back to the house. On this particular day, Ronnie wanted me to go farther than usual. At a half mile, I stopped and refused to go farther because the walk back already exceeded his usual distance. As I drove away, I looked in my mirror and saw his weight shifted toward his cane with that lifeless right arm glued to his side but walking in my direction. All was good. It was 10 in the morning.
When Ronnie had not returned an hour later, we began our search. My son Jacob and I walked Ronnie’s path, checking the ditches on both sides of the road. We searched far beyond the distance we thought he could physically manage but found nothing. At 1 o’clock, I called 911 and reported him missing. As the hours dragged on, more and more deputies joined the search, but to no avail.
When Ronnie’s older daughter, Emily, arrived, I asked her what she felt about me posting something on Facebook. She told me to go for it. So I posted this: "Please be aware friends — Ronnie went for a walk at 10:00 this morning and we have not seen him since." I asked that if anyone had seen him that they let us know or call our county sheriff’s department.
The offers to join the search poured in. However, we had to wait for the sheriff’s approval before bringing in volunteers. As night fell, the sheriff gave his okay. At 4:20 p.m., I posted again: "Sheriff has cleared for volunteers to help. If you can help search, please report ASAP to staging area on center hill road at new road construction."
Within minutes we had friends and family searching roadsides, ditches and culverts. Around 5 p.m., two of the volunteers, old friends Danny and Jimmy, found him deep in a wooded thicket. By the time I fought my way through the briars and mud and got to Ronnie, the guys had him standing. He was wet, covered in mud and blood but was okay. At 5:12 p.m. I posted two words: "Ronnie found."
Later Danny’s wife told me that Danny had asked God that if Ronnie was alive to lead him to his old friend. We continually thank God for the emergency responders and the huge turnout of our Facebook friends, family and volunteers who were there for us when we needed them most.