By Ray Van Dusen/Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – It’s a lesson Harold Wright instilled in his children that is helping to get them through their sleepless nights and nightmares when they finally do fall asleep.
“If our daddy could, he’d be the first to tell us to march on. He wouldn’t let anything get him down. You overcome, adapt and move on. We have families ourselves and that’s what we’re doing, but I won’t stop looking…I never will. The reason we keep going is because of the way he raised us,” said his son Tony.
Harold has been missing since April 10 and the investigation into his disappearance has crossed the state line into Lamar County, Ala. while it continues primarily in Monroe and Lowndes counties.
“According to what we were told, his last whereabouts was at the MissAla Lounge. Neither daddy nor his truck has been found and any rumors out there are false. There is a lot of talk out there that relates to foul play and I can’t understand how people can’t contact the authorities if there’s any truth to that. What people are saying is annihilating two families.
“When we hear these rumors, we go home and have nightmares about them. We lie awake some nights and ask ‘Why?’ and ‘Why us?,’” Tony said.
In a nearly two month-long ordeal Tony and his sister, Samantha Wright-Williams, describe as torture, the family has offered a $20,000 reward for any tip leading to Harold’s whereabouts, had two helicopters and several private planes do flyover searches of the area, taken to the woods on four-wheelers and is still constantly riding the roads looking for him.
“You think of somewhere else you haven’t looked and hop in the car. We’re going to keep going. No matter where we are, we’re going to keep looking,” Samantha said.
Riding locally and as far as the Alabama towns of Millport, Fayette, Reform, Vernon, Sulligent and Beaverton, the family continues to hope for the best even though they realize the odds are against them.
“We’re still not over mama. In 15 months, we’ve lost both parents so this has done so much to not just our emotions, but to his four grandchildren’s too. If he is gone, we just want to have the opportunity to put him where he belongs – buried beside the one he loved. When we do get closure, it’s going to be another train wreck of emotions,” Samantha said.
Tony and Samantha describe their family life as tight-knit. At age 47, there’s only been six months she hasn’t either lived with or lived next door to her father. Tony would either stop by or call his father every two to three days to talk.
“He loved to come to my son’s baseball games and to see my daughter play softball. My 11-year-old son asks about him every day,” Tony said.
The last thing Tony and Samantha talked about with their father before he went missing was one of his passions – electricity. The electric department finally hooked up the shop Tony and his father had wired and Harold was finalizing plans for an electrical project at Samantha’s church.
She describes his family as his life and his hobby, with his electrician business coming in second. Sometime close to 1980, Harold started his own electrical business, but downsized to just service calls in recent times after he semi-retired. He based his business from his motto that “if you do the right thing, you’ll always come out ahead.”
“We’ve had so many people ask us what they’re going to do without their electrician and who will fix their air conditioner now. They tell us that our daddy wouldn’t just run off. Him riding off into the sunset isn’t even a possibility,” Samantha said.
Described as a people person, Harold used to own Wright’s Groceries on Matubba and Vine streets years ago. Samantha said he never met a stranger and he loved to talk to people.
The numerous people in the Wrights’ lives along with complete strangers are helping ease the open ended question to his whereabouts.
“We can’t thank the public enough to fly in the air, ride the roads for us, spread the word and keep us in their prayers. We especially thank our church families at Bethel Baptist and Meadowood Baptist for keeping me and Tony together.
“I have faith in the Lord we’ll have closure. I just think it’ll be His time, not our’s. There are enough prayers going up that they’ll be answered,” Samantha said.
Anyone with any information on Wright, 69, who is 5’10 and weighs 155 lbs with gray hair and blue eyes, should call the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at 369-2468, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department at 328-6788 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-530-7151.