Friday, September 19, 2008

ARTICLE #17) Fundraiser an emotional event

Monday, May 15, 2006
Fundraiser an emotional event
The Kamloops Daily News by Jason Hewlett

Ten years ago, Jessie Foster made her mom a coffee cup for Mother’s Day. She painted the words Happy Mother’s Day ’96 on its side and surrounded them with flowers and hearts.

“I’ve been hugging the cup all day,” Glendene Grant, Jessie’s mom, said Sunday, tears rolling down her face. “I can’t let go of it.”

The handle broke off a few years ago. Grant kept it because it read: I Love You Mom.

Grant was doing her best not to think about Jessie, who disappeared in late March after living in Las Vegas for almost a year. Instead she focused on the success of Saturday’s barbecue to raise money to finance a Las Vegas private eye’s ongoing search for her daughter.

The event was held at Lloyd George elementary from 4 to 10 p.m. The meal included roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables. There were also hamburgers and smokies for the kids.

“We counted 110 tickets sold and we didn’t even collect all of them,” Grant said.

“We raised (more than) $2,000 and we still have more money to collect from last raffle draw and change jar.”

The barbecue wasn’t just a success because of the money it raised. Relatives and friends from across the Interior and Lower Mainland made the trek to support Jessie’s family.

“It was just mind-boggling,” Grant said.

Bob Comte was one of those who attended the barbecue. A good friend of Jessie’s grandfather Jim Grant, Comte figured it was the least he could do to help the search effort.

“I think there were 200 people there the whole evening. They came and went in waves,” he said.

The hardest part is not knowing if Jessie is dead or alive, he said.

“When someone dies you really have closure. When someone is missing you don’t have closure. You never know,” Comte said.

A month ago, Dwight Foster, Jessie’s dad, hired Las Vegas Detectives investigator Mike Kirkman to find his daughter.

So far, Kirkman’s investigation has revealed Jessie started dating a man who may be a pimp shortly after moving to Las Vegas. His wife is a known prostitute who allegedly threatened Jessie on numerous occasions.

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