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posted: 10/7/2013 5:00 AM

Let's take missing seniors seriously

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Just recently a good man went out to pick up some chicken in Palatine and got lost.

Gene was 84 years old, a good family man who became a victim of a terrible tragedy. He was found a month after his disappearance in a ravine in West Chicago, miles away from his original destination. He left behind a loving family who now mourn their loss.

In my opinion, an equally more tragic part of this story was the lack of media attention given to Gene's story. The Daily Herald was the single media outlet displaying any interest, running two stories in four weeks.

Hospitals and other governmental jurisdictions were alerted as usual. A "Silver Alert," (referring to seniors) was issued. This is a companion to the "Amber Alert" (referring to the young.) Amber Alerts are heard promptly, without fail, while Senior Alerts are basically not often heard.

In a four-week period, a single station, ABC, did an interview with the family which ran for approximately 30 seconds.

If one were to miss that, any other reference to the disappearance would never occur on another news channel. Gun violence captured lead stories on both morning and evening news programs.

Sadly because of the frequency of such occurrences they become commonplace, people often do not fully listen.

Could the media have better used their time in other efforts such as Gene's disappearance? I think so. Would more media attention have spearheaded efforts such as the use of helicopters, trained dogs, search teams and whatever else have been used to solve and rescue a victim? Did this story of an older person in need matter so little?

With the growing population of seniors, this question needs to be answered so that this preventable tragedy never again occurs!

Maxine Nugent

Arlington Heights

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