When Chad Rogers was reported missing on Tuesday, six of his friends started a Facebook group to get information to close friends and family.
The group quickly grew out of control, and the six friends decided to start a Facebook page.
The " Bring Chad Rogers Home " Facebook page quickly amassed the number of members the group had, and in two days gained 26,000 fans. And on Thursday, the group put out the call for people to show their support by tying red ribbons.
The impact was immediate.
“It makes me cry because there’s people up here (in Wisconsin) – friends of mine – who did not know my connection to Chad,” said Melissa Byrom Schellinger, a Liberty native who was part of the group to start the page. “We got a picture posted of a woman who tied a ribbon on her tree. She was a friend here. It’s a small world, and this is reaching so many people.”
Schellinger said it has been encouraging to see so many people pull together for Chad, even if some don’t know him.
“It’s a large group of people from all over the world,” Schellinger said. “The family can see it’s not just an isolated couple of people. Everyone has been touched by this story, and they’re uniting for the same cause – to bring Chad home.”
Schellinger has known Chad since childhood. She and Cooper Banks, Anni Swanson, Susanne Kelly, Katie Steinbauer, Chris Weslow and Andrew Pickard administer the page. Each of them also considers Chad family.
“We’ve been close friends throughout our lives,” Schellinger said. “We all know him. We love him like family. He’s been like a brother to us.”
And the group hopes the support from the Facebook page helps Chad’s family.
“We did this so the family could feel like they’re being taken care of and being supported,” Schellinger said. “People want to reach out and help. They don’t know how, and the page has turned into a way for the family to see how much they’re supported.”
And support has been demonstrated over and over, between donations from local businesses and Facebook fans leaving messages of encouragement.
“I stumbled across this search on Tuesday afternoon. I don't know Chad, I don't live in Missouri. I'm not even sure how I found out about the plight this family is going through but what I've discovered since then, about Chad, about your town, and about the American spirit has been uplifting,” Cher Lee posted. “You all embody what I used to think was a dying America. But there you are, here WE are, holding together, searching, praying~ each of us doing what we can to help find this man and bring him home!”
It’s been a place where volunteers can find out where to meet, or where they can find childcare if they want to help search.
And it’s a place where those who cannot physically help, can send their messages of hope.
“The outpouring has been so massive. We were trying to follow up with tips, and now the city of Liberty and Liberty Police Department are involved with the page, so they can monitor tips and information from people,” Schellinger said.
Schellinger, who now lives in Wisconsin, said it’s no surprise how Liberty has come together to help find Rogers.
“This has become way bigger than anything we thought,” she said. “It really shows the city has his back.”
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