It was May 6th at around 1600 EST when we received messages from concerned friends of “Jim”. Jim a retired CSM had just posted the status you see in the picture saying his goodbyes.
Many of his peers and subordinates messaged us asking for help as Jim whereabouts were unknown with an indication that he moved to the Philippines after his retirement.
His family including his son and ex-wife also reached out to us, but no one could provide either an address or even a phone number for him.
Starting by contacting the US Embassy in Manila we managed to get through to the emergency response officer but unfortunately Jim was not registered with the embassy and thus they had no record of his address. They stated that they would attempt to contact the local VA office as soon as it open (keep in mind that it was roughly 0500 local time).
Our only clue was a picture Jim posted on his Facebook stating that it was “his new view”.
Our admins went to work and located the landmark buildings in the picture (Rockwell Center) and based on distance and height extrapolated the building from which the picture was taken.
At the same time having posted a call for assistance on our Facebook page, we had at our disposal boots on the ground in the form of other retirees and a few TDY soldiers.
One of those soldiers,Ryan went to the target building as he was closer and he inquired about Jim’s location. While one of the receptionists recognized Jim, neither his name or any registered vehicle was coming up in the directory.
Having hit an obstacle we spent a few more minutes in identifying the approximate floor out of which the picture was taken at which point Ryan coerced the building security to go with him door-to-door on the floor we had identified.
Less than three hours after the initial message Ryan had a very surprised CSM Jim in hand. He stayed with him for a while after making sure that he called his family and friends, and he stated that he would visit the VA Monday (The Philippines is the only country with a VA office outside the U.S.).
Ryan went to see him the following week and he was doing well.
The power of “give a damn” knows no boundaries, the Army brotherhood is for life, if you feel that your thoughts overwhelm you, if you need help, we and many like us are here for you, now and always.