ROCK ISLAND, Illinois- A local group that helps families with loved ones who are missing or lost has a new home.
The Quad Cities Missing Persons Network received the keys to the old Colman Florist Building on 12th Street in Rock Island on Wednesday morning.
"We're so excited about this," said founder Dennis Harker.
"It's going to be a gathering place, whether it's families or volunteers, for training," he said.
It's the first brick and mortar headquarters for the network since it was launched three years ago, after Harker's son David went missing and was later found in the Mississippi River.
The space will allow Harker and his other son John to take their mission to another level. They plan to open a resale shop in the 5,000 square foot building, with proceeds going to fund the rent, the Missing Person's Network, and help the hungry and homeless.
"We'll sell clothing, furniture, appliances, antiques. We currently have three garage-fulls. There's just a glaring need out there, not just for people that need help with missing loved ones, but people who are homeless. Or just need help," Harker said, about the expanded role the family is taking on.
But, the Harkers say they are hard workers who make things happen.
"It gives me a sense of purpose. After my brother died, it was very difficult to deal with the loss," said John Harker, who will graduate from Western Illinois University this year.
The owners of Colman Florist moved to a new location in downtown Rock Island and offered to lease the building to the Harker's for a very low price.
"The generosity they've shown is just unbelievable," said Harker.