Dear Menifee Residents,
I reach out to you today with a heavy heart and a simple message … Thank you!
The strength of the fabric of a community and the mettle of its people is never truly tested until such an event as the disappearance of a child occurs.
In a time of crisis, we came together like never before in an outpouring of love, hope, endurance, and now grief with the news of Terry Smith Jr.’s disappearance and tragic outcome.
This is a bittersweet message because we lost a young member of our community who will be celebrated and forever remembered.
But this horrible tragedy showed a side of our community that makes me proud to call Menifee home and to serve as your mayor. More than 1,200 Menifee residents and members from surrounding communities volunteered their time and energy in severe weather conditions to tirelessly search for Terry over a four-day period.
To people like Bill Gillette and Tom Fuhrman, whose team organized and led the volunteer search efforts from a make-shift command post at the Menifee Market, and Pastor Jim Edwards and his team from Revival Church who organized a deeply personal and heartfelt vigil on Wednesday evening … Thank you!
To the numerous Menifee businesses that donated resources and supplies to aid in the search and many good Samaritans who brought food, water, hope and love to the hot and tired people searching for Terry… Thank you!
To the men and women of the Menifee Police and Fire Departments – there are no words to describe your tenacious focus in bringing closure to this tragic event in our lives. We are honored and proud to have you protect and serve all of us … Thank you!
Menifee certainly did not tackle this alone. We had the well trained operational support of public safety and search and rescue professionals throughout Southern California. Teams from Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties and multiple cities within those jurisdictions came to aid in the search effort. We also received support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the California Office of Emergency Services. Thanks to each and every one of you fine professionals!
To the Citizen Emergency Response Teams from Menifee, Canyon Lake, Moreno Valley, Riverside, Temecula, Wildomar and units from the Pass Area … Thank you!
Thanks are also in order to the Riverside Amateur Civil Emergency Services (R.A.C.E.S), the Lake Elsinore, Menifee and Perris Explorers the Trauma Intervention Program of Southwest Riverside County and the American Red Cross.
I would also like to thank the members of all media outlets in covering this unfolding story. Your professional conduct in reporting the news while respecting the sensitivity of the different stages of this tragedy was truly appreciated.
And finally, to the dedicated efforts of Menifee city staff members Rob Johnson, Allen Yun, Colin McNie, Wayne O’Gara, Rudy Luna and the PV Maintenance crews -- you were hustling all week to support this monumental effort as well … Thank you!
It has been a difficult week for our city. While a national audience was watching, Menifee’s true pioneer spirit shined brightly and redefined the meaning of the word ‘community’. You demonstrated to the world who ‘Menifee’ truly is. On behalf of a grateful city and my colleagues on the city council … Thank you and God bless!
Scott A. Mann
Mayor, City of Menifee