On December 18th, a website called Flathead Beacon posted an article about Col. George Bristol, a Marine who retired to Whitefish, Montana, after serving 38 years in the Marine Corps.
The article reports:
Last summer, Bristol read a news story about the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force headed up by Det. Jeanne Parker and reached out to offer his services.
Parker was initially hesitant about bringing in a volunteer to the ICAC Task Force, especially considering the sensitive nature of their work. But that changed after she sat down for coffee with Bristol.
“When I left that meeting, I knew I had found the perfect man for the job,” she says.
When a child goes missing, law enforcement tries to determine if a crime has occurred and if the child is in immediate danger. If law enforcement believes the child may have been kidnapped or hurt, a full-fledged investigation is opened. But if it’s apparent that the child is a runaway, Bristol is called in.
Bristol interviews the child’s parents, classmates and friends in an effort to create what he calls “a pattern of life” that reveals where the child usually goes. Since this past summer, Bristol has helped bring more than two-dozen children home. Afterwards, Bristol helps the children and their families connect with services to help resolve, or at least improve, their situations at home.
Parker says Bristol’s work is particularly important because runaways are in danger of becoming human-traffic victims. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in five runaway juveniles became sex-trafficking victims in 2015. The primary reason runaways are at risk to become human-traffic victims is that within a few days of being away from home, they get desperate for food and shelter. If Bristol doesn’t get to them first, there’s a good chance someone with bad intentions will.
The important fact in this story is that one in five runaway juveniles became sex-trafficking victims in 2015. The article explains that part of the reason for Bristol’s success in finding and helping runaway children is the fact that he had a tough childhood and ran away in his younger years. He credits the Marine Corps for helping him get his life in order. Bristol is a beautiful example of someone who turned a negative aspect of his life into something that could help others. We can all learn from his example.