To help locate Jim and Gail Ellis, FMCA issued an e-mail alert at approximately 2:30 p.m. Eastern time on Feb.12.
Meanwhile, longtime FMCA members Dave and Donna Moore were heading east in their Monaco Knight motorhome to Catalina State Park in Tucson, Ariz. They had just left Kartchner Caverns State Park, where they had spent the previous three nights.
“When we got to Catalina and set up, I saw the e-mail,” Mr. Moore said. “I opened it up and saw the pictures and I said to my wife, Donna, ‘That’s the people we were camped next to at Kartchner.’ "
He called FMCA immediately.
“The e-mail from FMCA was very helpful,” Mr. Moore said. “Had their not been pictures on that e-mail, I know I would not have recognized them. Between the pictures of the coach and the pictures of them, especially of the lady, I recognized her. So that was what helped make the identification.”
At Kartchner Caverns, the Moores, of Conneaut Lake, Pa., had parked one site below the Ellises — “on nice, spacious sites,” Mr. Moore recalled. The Ellises arrived on the second day of the Moore’s three-day stay.
“We saw both of them and the lady was sitting outside reading,” Mr. Moore said. “It was a little bit cooler those days. As a matter of fact, the day before we had a little snow. We went for a walk around the campground and we waved and said hello. The next day we tried to ride our bikes but it was too cold, and once again she was outside reading and we waved again, but we really never introduced ourselves.”
Mr. Moore said he also took notice of the Ellises’ Newell motor coach, because it seemed “somewhat unique.” He pondered whether it could be a converted motorhome.
“My wife from time to time says that I’m quite oblivious to most things. So I was actually quite proud of myself that I made the recognition and was able to be helpful.”
Mr. Moore’s observation and swift action eroded the anxiety and concern that seemed to be escalating by the hour. “I’m so happy that I could put people’s minds at ease and help the Ellises reunite with their friends and family,” he said. “It’s great. I like happy endings.”