“May God bring Jenni-Lyn Watson home to her family and friends.”
This prayer has become customary among the more than 27,000 people who are members of the Facebook group, “MISSING: JENNI-LYN WATSON.”
As many of us know, Watson went missing shortly after heading home to Liverpool, N.Y., for Thanksgiving break.
Because of the tireless work of family, friends, friends of friends and concerned citizens who never knew her directly, she was present in the minds of thousands around the country.
Hundreds of missing posters were posted throughout the nation, stretching from California to the East Coast.
Dozens of media outlets were contacted to post Watson’s description.
Countless Facebook statuses and profile pictures were replaced with Watson’s description and the Onondaga sheriff’s number.
Many of these actions resulted from Mercyhurst student Devin Ruic’s efforts. He created the above Facebook page shortly after Watson went missing.
I was a member of the group when there were only 200 people, but watched as the numbers grew from 2,000 to 5,000 to more than 25,000 members.
Many Mercyhurst students were among them.
Some members are found throughout the world, including Mercyhurst’s sister college in Dungarvan, Ireland.
This group was utilized as a discussion board to coordinate efforts to bring Watson home. Missing flyers could be downloaded from the page. Wall posts contained suggestions of different media outlets to contact, including those that had already aired information about the disappearance.
Members constantly gave inspiration to one another to continue their efforts.
In today’s world, we often hear of cowards hiding behind a computer and cyber-bullying someone. We rarely hear of a social networking site being used with good intentions, yet that was the case in this instance.
Junior Michelle Tatavosian posted one of my personal favorite quotes by Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Rest in peace, Jenni-Lyn. You and your family are forever in our thoughts and prayers.
And may justice reach those who deserve it.