It had been just over 10 months since Major Jim Everitt had last seen his children, Journey and Trust. On Oct. 29th, 2011, Major Everitt received the call he was anxiously hoping for: his children had been found safe and in relatively good health!
The joyous news comes just one month after the 2011 Chevy Fireball Run Adventurally, during which Team Florida Tech and Team Trust (Space Coast) actively promoted awareness of the missing siblings in a variety of ways.
Team Florida Tech and Team Trust were able to engage the entire Melbourne and Florida Tech community to help support this cause. Much of the awareness building took place through social media engagement initiatives, the Florida Tech Blog, and the weeklong 2,500 mile Fireball Run event itself. Spanning several states, this road rally allowed the teams to distribute thousands of fliers and garner media attention on behalf of the children.
The story of the Everitt childrens’ recovery was fostered by the online searches of an anonymous social worker at the Vancouver, Wash. homeless shelter where Journey and Trust had been living with their mother, Crystal:
“An anonymous person at the shelter initially found Crystal Everitt’s story of domestic violence believable. However, the person also found Crystal Everitt’s resistance to accepting services offered by the shelter (including medical care and food for the children) suspicious. The person searched through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) web site and found Journey Everitt’s missing person flyer. Further Internet research of Journey Everitt’s name revealed the press releases and flyers for the Florida Institute of Technology’s association with the Fireball Run Rally (and Melbourne Chamber of Commerce), and an online news broadcast by Scott Davis of Crossville, Tennessee, called “The Missing”, which profiled the Everitt case. The person notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Vancouver Police Department, and the Melbourne Police Department about the status of the family. This led to Crystal Everitt’s arrest for outstanding warrants in Florida for interference with child custody and child neglect, by the Vancouver Washington Police Department and the recovery of Journey and Trust Everitt.”
The Melbourne Police Department issued the following statement on Oct. 29, 2011:
“The credit for solving this case goes directly to the community. The effort made by law enforcement, in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, was bolstered by the press generated from the nationwide community response to finding the Everitt children.”
The massive media exposure Journey and Trust were able to garner helped aid in their recovery. This exposure was further spread through the participation and support of the entire Florida Tech community. The anonymous social worker who reported their suspicion was able to validate their gut instincts from the information we, as a community, were able to share and spread online.
Florida Tech extends its gratitude to our students, staff, faculty, alumni and supporters for their participation during this event which led to the recovery of Journey and Trust Everitt. Lives were forever changed—a testament to what we can achieve as a community here at Florida Tech. “High Tech with a Human Touch” is more than just a catchy slogan, it’s part of our DNA.
Please stay tuned for updates as the children and Mr. Everitt come home and we celebrate a family reunited.
If you suspect that a child has been abducted or is possibly reported missing, please visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website at www.missingkids.com, or call 1-800- THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678), or your local law enforcement agency, and report your suspicions