WASHINGTON, May 23, 2012 — Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole today presented H. Keith Ray, a postal service letter carrier, with the Missing Children’s Day Citizen Award for his efforts to locate a missing autistic child in Oakville, Mo. Deputy Attorney General Cole recognized Ray at the annual National Missing Children’s Day commemoration honoring missing children, their families, child advocates and others who protect children, held in the Justice Department’s Great Hall.
“Protecting children is one of the important jobs we have,” said Deputy Attorney General Cole. “There is no rest for a parent who has lost a child, and there should be no rest for any of us who are in a position to help. There may not be any words we could offer that would ease their pain, but we can and will offer our support – and all the tools at our disposal to help families of missing and exploited children. I am honored to recognize those who work on the front lines to rescue children and bring them home safely.”
On Feb. 25, 2011, Ray, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service, learned at his daily mail stop at Wohlwend Elementary School in Oakville that an autistic boy had been reported missing from the school playground. Ray volunteered to assist in the search and found the young boy at a nearby chapel, curled up trying to stay warm. Ray alerted police, and the child was returned unharmed to his family.
President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25, 1983, the first National Missing Children’s Day to remember Etan Patz, a six-year-old boy who disappeared from a New York City street corner on May 25, 1979. Missing Children’s Day honors his memory and the memories of children still missing.