January 25, 2018 10:50:33 AM
Chris Reed is home and safe after what must have been a terrifying ordeal for his family and friends.
The story began with Reed, 25, wandering off from his home around 8 a.m. Monday morning. Because he is autistic, Reed was particularly vulnerable and a desperate search soon began. Reed was found around 5 p.m. Wednesday, just an hour before a search team was to assemble on Main Street in an effort to find him.
Police say he was found in the backyard of his home and suspect he may have been in the care of someone, given his healthy condition, and dropped off at his home.
While the saga ends in the best imaginable way, we pause for a moment to note a dynamic that emerged soon after Reed was reported missing.
In such cases, it is normal that family and friends, along with law enforcement, search for their missing loved one. But in Reed's case, the search included regular citizens who didn't know Reed and had little-to-no personal connection to the event.
It would be easy to sit and watch and hope for a good outcome.
Yet, a group of about 40 people -- many who did not know Reed or his family -- turned out Tuesday evening to search for Reed. The group was organized on Facebook by Jessie Drew. They traveled the streets of roads in the city, passed out fliers and signaled the alarm throughout the city.
It is reasonable to suspect that the attention these volunteers brought to the situation may have played some role in Reed's safe return.
As citizens, we are sometimes inclined not to get involved in situations that do not affect us directly.
Yet, as so many citizens have shown us over the previous 48 hours, we are all neighbors in a sense and what affects even one person in our city affects our community as a whole. The strength of our community was on display during this incident. That strength is the common bond of care and concern that compels us to help even strangers in a time of crisis.
We applaud the Columbus Police Department and Columbus Fire & Rescue for their work in their efforts to locate Reed. We also thank those regular citizens who joined that effort.
This kind of collaborative effort represents the best qualities of our community.
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