Group of Staten Island Librarians Spring Into Action, Find Missing Elderly Man - NBC New York

Group of Staten Island Librarians Spring Into Action, Find Missing Elderly Man

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NYC Librarians Help Rescue Missing Man with Alzheimer's

    A group of librarians at a conference in Manhattan used their tech savvy to come to the rescue of a lost Alzheimer's patient who didn't speak any English. NBC 4 New York's Marc Santia reports.

    (Published Thursday, May 16, 2019)

    What to Know

    • For five librarians on Staten Island, it’s a story that could have been ripped from the pages of an adventure novel

    • This group of book-lovers checked the Citizen emergency-alert app while at a conference in Manhattan that informed them of a missing man

    • When they stepped outside near Herald Square they came across the same elderly man described in the alert who was disoriented and confused

    For five librarians on Staten Island, it’s a story that could have been ripped from the pages of an adventure novel.

    It all began last week at a conference in Manhattan – when the talk of books was suddenly interrupted.

    “I announced to the ladies that there was a Citizen Alert,” librarian Olisha James said.

    Light years ahead of the Dewey Decimal System, this group of book-lovers checked the Citizen emergency-alert app.

    “An elderly man was missing in the area,” librarian Krystina Humbert said.

    Katelynne Lawson, a children librarian, added that the alert “gave a description of what he was wearing, approximately how old he was, the fact that he doesn’t speak English, the fact that he had dementia.”

    A short time later they stepped outside near Herald Square and happened to see a man “walking back and forth,” librarian Cherryl Bailey said.

    The group noticed the man looked disoriented and that’s when they realized it was the same man that was described in the Citizen app.

    “I approached him and said, ‘Sir, can I help you?’” Bailey said.

    But, they encountered a slight obstacle — the man only spoke French. That didn’t stop this group from their quest to help him.

    “I pulled out my phone. Tried to type in different phrases, different words, different questions and translate it to French,” Bailey said.

    “At some point he walked into the middle of the street into oncoming traffic so Kaitlyn and I had to gently pull him back,” Humbert explained.

    The librarians then managed to flag down police and officers ultimately called for medical help.

    This group of heroic librarians say everyone can do the mere simple act of helping another in need.

    “Open your eyes, take a look around you, you might be able to help someone,” Humbert said.

    Fellow librarian Mleeka Khan added that one just has “to take action.”

    “Help that one person, you can make a huge difference,” Khan said.

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