I discuss poor reputation management frequently on this blog, but while there are lessons to be learned from those who have made mistakes, it’s just as important to learn from organizations who are quietly building a positive reputation through their good work. One such organization is Texas Equusearch, a volunteer group that is relatively unknown, but maintains a great reputation among those who are aware of its services.
On May 29th, one of my best friends in Cincinnati went missing. He was a great friend. My wife and I have vacationed with him numerous times, I go to dinner with him just about every weekend, and I traveled to the Kentucky Derby with him just two weeks before his disappearance. To say it was a shock to us would be an understatement.
After a five day disappearance, his body was found, and it was evident that he had taken his own life. I’ve never been through a suicide before, but have discovered that you go through the full gamut of emotions. In the four weeks since his passing, we have tried to be there for his wife and three boys. Without question, they have a long road ahead of them. But there has been a bright spot in this terrible situation. During my friend’s disappearance, I was introduced to Texas Equusearch, an organization that absolutely blew me away with their commitment and compassion.
In the first 24 hours of his disappearance, I went out on my own, looking everywhere in Cincinnati that he was familiar with, searching for his car or any other trace of him. I knew nothing about Texas Equusearch at that point, but a family from the school our kids attend reached out the organization for help. On the morning of June 1st, I met Dave Radar from Texas Equusearch, along with his group of nearly 20 people. Dave’s team organized over 100 community volunteers into search parties, combing any and all areas where we might be able to find him.
When I left the scene, I called the family to let them know that the search had intensified, explaining how well put together Dave and his team were. Though thankful, they wondered who was absorbing the cost for bringing in this company and all of their resources. At that point, I had no idea. Dave mentioned to me that he had access to search dogs, sonar equipment to check local lakes, and some of the most sophisticated search tools I had ever heard of, so my initial reaction was to think that the costs would be astronomical.
I researched Texas Equusearch a little bit more when I got home, and remarkably, found out that there would be no cost to the family. The entire operation is run by volunteers who donate their time to find missing people. They also call on private companies to use their technology resources. While Texas Equusearch doesn’t work directly with the police, they do what they can to provide as much man power as possible to locate those who have been abducted or who have gone missing on their own volition.
I stood side by side with Dave and his team for three days straight searching from dawn to dusk. He was able to bring in horses to search through the woods, as well as three small planes to search from above. Each day, I spent time with the volunteers and got to hear their stories explaining why they choose to donate their time. Over and over, volunteers told me that Texas Equusearch had once helped them with a lost loved one. The volunteers are so grateful for the help of Texas Equusearch that they feel compelled to give their time to help others in need.
Our local community had well over 100 people come out to search, and the organizational skills and professionalism of Texas Equusearch gave us the best opportunity to find my friend. While we were not successful in finding him alive, it opened my eyes to an incredible service, and some amazing people. I hope that nobody reading this ever needs to utilize the services of Texas Equusearch, but on the horrific chance you are in that situation, I want to make as many people as possible aware of the generosity of their group.
A beautiful woman lost a husband, three young boys lost a dad, and I lost a good friend. While there isn’t a way to ever fully recover from that, my experience with Texas Equusearch has made me realize how many truly good people are out there. I spend a lot of time writing about companies working to repair their reputation after a social media gaffe, or lapse in judgement. Sometimes, it’s just as important to use this site as a forum to promote and spread the word of a company that has a great reputation, and deservedly so.