DEAR ABBY: About 20 years ago my parents divorced. My mother kept my father's whereabouts unknown, and eventually all contact was lost. When I turned 18 and left home, I tried to no avail to locate my father. I gave up after six years, until I read a letter in your column. You gave the address for the Salvation Army, which has a Missing Persons Service to help find close relatives. I contacted them, and yesterday I received a telephone call from my father!
Many years have passed and he has a new family, but I hope we can build a relationship now.
Thank you, Abby, from the bottom of my heart, for making this possible. Please publish the information about the Salvation Army at least once a year. Maybe there can be other happy endings. -- YVETTE IN NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF.
DEAR YVETTE: No need to thank me. That's what I'm here for.
Readers, the Salvation Army operates a Missing Persons Locator Service in 90 countries throughout the world. This service is available to the public. Those interested should be aware of the following basic guidelines:
1. The inquirer should be searching for a near relative. Please do not request a search for old classmates, sweethearts, wartime buddies, friends or neighbors. And do not ask to find runaway adult children or someone owing you money.
2. The inquirer must be able to provide essential information about the missing person.
3. The Salvation Army reserves the right to accept or reject any request for services based upon consideration of reasonableness, feasibility or notice.
4. The inquirer is asked to forward a $10 non-refundable donation.
5. The inquirer may secure information and/or a missing persons inquiry form by contacting the nearest Salvation Army office in his area or by contacting the nearest Territorial Headquarters.
Addresses: P.O. Box C635, West Nyack, N.Y. 10994; 1424 Northeast Expressway, Atlanta, Ga. 30329-2088; 30840 Hawthorne Blvd., Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. 90274; 10 W. Algonquin, Des Plaines, Ill. 60016.