PACIFIC, Wash. — Gordon Trucking Inc. is cooperating with the Washington State Patrol to help find missing or abducted children through a program called Homeward Bound.
The State Patrol places posters of missing children on the sides of Gordon Trucking’s trailers to widen the exposure and heighten visibility of the cases.
“The Homeward Bound Program exemplifies a partnership between government and the private sector that can truly make a difference,” American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves, said. “I commend the efforts of Gordon Trucking and the Washington State Patrol, and pray all of these children are found.”
Gordon Trucking is a member of ATA.
The company’s involvement in Homeward Bound has grown since the program’s start in 2006. The company now has nearly 70 trailers that display a missing child poster.
The Washington State Patrol uses a host of factors to select the missing child cases in the program.
In order for a case to be an active investigation, a law enforcement agency must take a missing persons report and enter the individual into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.
After selecting the case, the State Patrol works with Gordon Trucking to place a poster of the missing child onto a truck route that corresponds with the child’s suspected whereabouts.
“The Washington State Patrol approached us in the spring of 2006 about posting photos of missing children on our trailers,” Chief Operating Officer Steve Gordon said. “As a locally owned and operated company, we were happy to help the state and the communities that Gordon Trucking serves.”
At present, the state patrol has 19 missing children in the program.
Each child has his or her own poster that includes the name of the child, contact information for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and two photos – one from the time of disappearance and another that is age-progressed.
“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that 1 in 6 children are successfully recovered due to the public viewing a picture,” said Washington State Patrol Missing Persons Unit Manager Luci Stewart. “Because people spend so much of their lives in their vehicles, this was naturally a great way to reach them.”
Washington State has approximately 1,800 missing children cases at any given time, and on a national level about 1.3 million children go missing each year.
The Washington State Patrol hopes to work with neighboring states to expand the Homeward Bound Program as soon as possible.
“Since the program’s beginning, three children that the state patrol featured on our trailers have been found alive,” Gordon said. “Although the State Patrol cannot directly attribute this success to the posters, Gordon Trucking’s involvement in the program has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my professional career.”
For more information visit the Washington State Patrol’s Web site at wsp.wa.gov, and search for the Homeward Bound Program.
Gordon Trucking is a family-owned company founded in 1946.
The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.