I put myself in the shoes of one of these parents and I think I’d simply fall apart:
Mike Hare has scoured the ravaged neighborhood where his 16-year-old son Lantz was seen last. He’s called hospitals from Dallas to Kansas City and taken dozens of calls offering advice, prayers and hopeful tips.
None of the calls came from Lantz. None offered any hope he might still be alive.
Hare has been looking for his son since Sunday, when much of the southwest Missouri city of Joplin was leveled by a tornado that now ranks as the nation’s single deadliest tornado since the National Weather Service started keeping records.
“We know he’s hurt somewhere,” Hare said Wednesday, his voice breaking. “We just can’t sit and keep calling. You’ve got to be moving.”
Hare is among an increasingly desperate group of people in Joplin pleading for help in tracking down one of the dwindling number of people still missing in the wake of Sunday’s storm. They’re scrawling signs in wreckage, calling in by the hundreds to local radio stations and posting on the Internet. They are inspiring city officials to continue search and rescue efforts, yet there is no talk yet of recovery.
The evening of the tornado, Lantz Hare was driving with a friend who said the two tried to take cover in the parking lot of a grocery store. The tornado shattered the windows and crumpled the car, and Mike Hare found Lantz’s backpack in the wreckage.
He said he would keep searching until he found his son, dead or alive.
“If you look at the ground, life will pass you by,” he said. “I won’t let life pass me by.”
Lord, help this father find his son. Help all whose loved ones have yet to be found.
UPDATE: I’ve found a related CNN report:
SECOND UPDATE: Sadly, Lantz Hare did not make it:
The family resumed their search in the area around the car on Tuesday, when Michelle Hare ran into a man who said he had been assisting the National Guard late Sunday night. The man said he had stood watch over the body of a young man he described as wearing the same khaki shorts Lantz had been wearing, until a law enforcement officer took the body away.
Mr. Green said Lantz’s friend J.T. later told Michelle Hare that the force of the wind blew out the car’s windows and that he climbed into the back seat. That’s all he remembered before waking up in a van that someone used to transport him to the hospital, Mr. Green said.
Mr. Green, who said Lantz’s mother was too overwhelmed to be interviewed, said she heard there was an unidentified body of a young man at the morgue, but she had not been able to view it.
On Thursday afternoon, Ms. Hare learned that the morgue had identified her son’s body.