Date: October 13th, 2012; Time: 1:00pm to 4:o0pm;
Contact Information: Danny Block; firstname.lastname@example.org
Nina Mason Pulliam Campus for Compassion
Arizona Humane Society
1521 West Dobbins Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85041
Fiesta Resort Conference Center – Ask for Block Family rate of $89 per night
2100 South Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282
Mark Paczkowski (Thanks Mark for hosting our out of town guests)
Our first order of business for Project Blue is to get the State to install a guy guard, or better still a cable barrier, at the site known as “Sunset Point” where Jeff’s vehicle went off Hwy 60 to land tragically over 400 feet below. How many more people must meet the same fate due to this unguarded area on such a treacherous stretch of road before the State gets a clue that a few thousand dollars could save lives. At the same time we pursue this barrier (that we hope to dedicate in Jeff’s loving memory), we will also be pursuing the true purpose of Project Blue.
Throughout our searching for Jeff’s vehicle, both aerial and ground, the biggest problem we encountered and the easiest one to solve, was the identification of my brother’s wreckage amongst the hundreds of vehicle carcasses that littered the acres on either side of the highways. Spotting wreckage from the air was particularly difficult because without prior knowledge of what was already littering the desert floor, every piece of debris sighted had to be carefully checked and identified before being able to dismiss it from the search. Additionally, a ground search from the roadways often meant viewing the same wreckage viewed from the sky, and oftentimes meant hiking down to eliminate it from the search when binocular inspection was not enough.
How many volunteers, both on ground and air, looked at the same vehicle wreckage? What an incredible waste of man hours and equipment hours to search this way. And how do we improve this process? Lessons Learned. After we had launched several aerial search strategies, both single engine aircraft and helicopter, a simple idea hit one of us like one of those “Holy cow, why didn’t we think of this sooner” moments. I can’t tell you how many of those moments I and my family had as we were left alone on the first 7 days of our search and investigation looking for Jeff and Blue.
The idea came from one of the most compassionate and humble men I have ever met. He is so modest that he wouldn’t want me to give him the credit for starting the idea for Project Blue He wouldn’t even want me to mention his initials (RC). So I will keep Coop’s identify a secret for now. But in reality, the idea came for all of you, all of us. The discovery of Jeff & Blue was made possible because of all of you, all of us. Sure, one wonderful man who joined the search efforts has been identified as showing the DPS where my brother’s wreckage may be. His efforts helped bring closure to this horrific nightmare that no parent should ever have to endure. But the truth of what happened, and who found my brother, and why we found my brother, is because of the efforts, ideas, and relentless pursuit that all of you, including my family, showed and gave when we first launched the blog and the two weeks that followed. You all deserve the reward offered (unfortunately we can only give it to the one person) for spotting the wreckage site that led DPS officers to discover and retrieve Jeff and then led the tireless people of SSAR to search the area, find and extract Blue (God Bless you Erika for what you did).
Ok, so I started to get off topic, back to Project Blue. What can we do to prevent any family from going through what we did in the future? How can we eliminate even just one day from our search efforts? What can we do to make future efforts faster and more successful? When you are lost in a vehicle and potentially injured, especially in harsh conditions, every day is critical; every hour could mean the difference between you surviving to share more moments with family and friends, some of which you would have never known, to the fate that many have to face every day; burying and honoring a loved one tragically passed. That is where Project Blue comes in.
Project Blue will start in the 4 county areas than Jeff’s vehicle traveled and will help finance various groups to identify and mark all existing vehicle wreckage along roadside accident sites. Volunteer groups and county employees, and even paid contractors will be enlisted to discover, hike to, then mark GPS coordinates of wreckage and while on site, mark the wreckage with a big blue “X”. Blue, yes in honor of Blue, Jeff’s truest best friend and companion; but blue because it is a color never seen in the desert and easily spotted from the air. Just think how easy it will be to aerial search the roadways on either side looking for wreckage and knowing that a marked vehicle can be bypassed without closer examination. Imagine how easily the CAP and other well equipped aerial search groups can analyze aerial photos to quickly spot new wreckage and send ground crews or chopper crews to investigate closer. Think of the time that will be saved when every hour can be so critical to saving lives; or in our case; to bringing the nightmare of the unknown to come to an end as soon as possible.
That is the purpose of Project Blue, a simple, cost effective plan to save time, save money, and save lives. I have already heard one person state that the environmentalists won’t like the blue paint along the landscape, easily visible from air and highways. Well, I say, it it offends the eye more than the rusting vehicle carcasses already there, then this will make it easy for tow companies to extract the wreckage and make some easy money selling scrap steel. I am looking forward to making this project a nationwide campaign in just 24 months, and world wide in less than 5 years. Help be a part of history and join us to make this happen. Spread the word any way you can. Just as I know we would have never found Jeff without your help, I know we won’t be able to pull this project off without even more help. Between all of us, we can make Project Blue a life changing reality that honors my brother’s purpose in life and death for decades to come.
THANK YOU! The Block Family.