“They say there’s justice for all. They just never talk about the wait.”
–Monica Caison, Founder
A new attendee to the Cue Center for Missing Persons Conference never quite knows what to expect for it is like no other conference. Southern hospitality, bringing you into the fold in a comfortable, non-threatening way is the M.O., or modus operandi, that makes this conference stand out and is the glue that holds it together.
There is no necessity to explain what it’s like for you, for others know and are always receptive to your story. The winning recipe of this Conference continues to be dedicated people committed to doing what they do best; diverse, good quality presentations, giving newbies permission to share, even to have fun in the safety of this forum. Right from the start, you are filled with a sense of community, with local political leaders, and law enforcement welcoming all to the Conference and giving full endorsements.
This year, the considerable skills of Lt. Peter Cestare lent his amusing narratives to the role of Master of Ceremonies, keeping it going like clockwork between events, speakers, and lots of peppering with donated door prizes for the highest bidder. A long buffet table is ever present filled with homemade food, food, food all the time. There are opportunities for quiet reflection and networking.
The Signature Event, reflective of the CUE Center’s influence in the City of Wilmington, NC is the National Candlelight Service on the Wilmington River. Feeling special in every way possible begins with a police escort, sirens blaring, paving the way for the line of buses during the entire route to downtown Wilmington.
This event takes place amid the backdrop of the Warship the USS North Carolina and stately buildings. The atmosphere creates a sense of awe, with the bravery and resiliency of missing persons families as they tell heart wrenching accounts of their loved ones gone missing. Although there are tears, there is also a sense of peace, inspirational music, plenty of gleaming awards, photos and candles flickering in the darkness, serving to keep hope alive, always!
Monica Caison never fails to acknowledge those who make a contribution, large and small, two legged or four legged. Appreciation abounds! Remarkably, Monica’s family and other victim families take on the role of serving new victims as a way of self-healing. In addition, children are selectively introduced to the plight of the missing and the power of giving back during the Conference, during community events, during searches and their daily lives. Compassionate, involving children equals hope for the future!
Resiliency is the quality that helps missing persons families carry on, day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year. We have to ask, how do we as an organization, capture the public’s attention – to become more aware, to truly care about this silent epidemic and to help the CUE Center to help others in the next generation?
This is the question to be addressed, to achieve longevity and continue to provide quality services amid all of the challenges encountered in 2018. The 2018 Conference Message of Peace and Bonding was achieved in so many ways! Just ask any of the participants and they will share examples, and special memories close to their hearts.
We come into this world and leave this world alone, but, in between, it is indeed a Community United Effort!
A song that reveals the true essence of the CUE Center for Missing Persons, that was included at the the Candlelight service is performed here by artist Daphne Willis, singing, “Somebody’s Someone” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGgN9vMPUn8
If you would like to know more about this impressive conference, I invite you to listen to this pre-conference podcast that told the story well-
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