Community members give back to popular nonprofit organization

Fundraiser held at local restaurant

KEMAH – For years, one local nonprofit organization has given everything it has to help families to look for their missing loved ones. Saturday at Jackie's Brickhouse in Kemah, dozens of community members gave back.

"Then it was only a thought and a dream -- I never thought it would get this big," said Tim Miller -- the man who founded Texas EquuSearch.

You have never seen them, but you've probably heard of them.

Texas EquuSearch is one of the organizations behind the massive volunteer efforts to find missing people.

"I get teary-eyed every time I see one of these families," Miller said.

Saturday at Jackie's Brickhouse in Kemah, Texas EquuSearch in conjunction with several community groups, hosted a fundraiser for Texas EquuSearch. 

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1version=v3.1'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

"I know that they depend on the public support to help them, and so I'm happy to support them as well," said Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady.

For Miller, every search feels just like his first. Decades ago, he went searching for his own daughter, then 16-year-old Laura Miller. 

"I remember every minute of the 17 months of helplessness and hopelessness," Miller said.

After frustrations over lack of help from the local police department, 17 months later, in 1984 his daughter's body was found.

"After Laura's body was found, I just thought that was the end of my life also and in many ways, it was the beginning of a new life. It's when I kind of made that promise to God and Laura that I'd never leave a family alone," Miller said.

Miller knows just how many searches his 18-year-old nonprofit was involved in.

"1,935," Miller said looking at the count on his phone.

With more than 400 volunteers in the Greater Houston area, and more in branches all over the United States including Cincinnati, many community members support Miller and these volunteers' dedication.

The volunteers all do it for free.

"He's an angel in disguise -- God gave him the strength to turn something negative into thousands of positives," said Galveston County Sheriff's Office Lt. Tommy Hansen.

For deputies and law enforcement, it is an invaluable service.

"We don't have the resources to put together 100 people to put together a search," Hansen said.  "Call them and next thing you know they're there."

"They bring hope to people who have it and when all hope is lost, they're able to bring answers," Roady said.

For Gloria Esparza, who is still missing her son Ryan, Texas EquuSearch gives her hope.

"When you don't have anywhere else to turn-- they give me that faith," Esparza said.

"Never want to turn a family down," Miller said.

The fundraiser is from 12-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 at Jackie's Brickhouse in Kemah.