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NOKR Media 2008  Archives 2007 2006  2005  2004
12 16 2005 Accidents, Flu Pandemic or National Disaster Are You Prepared?
09 23 2005 National Next of Kin Registry (NOKR)
09 03 2005
08 03 2005
Site aids police search for next of kin
08 02 2005
National Next of Kin Registry Helps Locate Loved Ones in Emergency
06 12 2005 Registry helps track down next of kin
06 03 2005 National Next Of Kin Registry Honors Volunteer with
President’s Volunteer Service Award
05 24 2005 Jackson Introduces Next Of Kin Legislation
04 21 2005  National Next Of Kin Registry (NOKR) Joins With President Bush’s Council on Service and Civic Participation to Deliver President’s Volunteer Service Award
02 25 2005 Emergency Registry Helps Locate Family Members, Friends
02 18 2005 Indiana, Putnam County Coroner
02 08 2005 New program to make emergency notification to families quicker

NOKR has appeared in many media sources, this is a short list
ABC News CBS News NBC News MSNBC Fox News


USA Today Washington Post New York Times LA Times STAR
San Diego Union Associated Press Press-Enterprise Times-News Daily Ardmoreite
Houston Chronicle Press of Atlantic City Richmond Times Kansas City Star Journal Gazette
Intelligencer News-Star Southern Illinoisan Cape Cod Times Tennessean
Bellingham Herald Bangor Daily News Californian Virginian-Pilot Atlanta Journal-Constitution
American Forces News- Department of Defense Pentagon


For Immediate Release
December 16, 2005
National Next of Kin Registry (NOKR)
Contact: Roger Castro Chief Operations Officer
Email: roger.castro@pleasenotifyme.org

Accidents, Flu Pandemic or National Disaster Are You Prepared?

December 16, 2005
The National Next of Kin Registry (NOKR) is asking all People to take a proactive stance in preparing for accidents and national disasters during this holiday season by registering their vital emergency contact information. This information will help emergency agencies help you in your time of need.

NOKR wants to remind everyone about the importance of family and NOKR’s FREE resource which is used in the event of an accident, if someone goes missing or in the event of a disaster such as the recent Hurricane Katrina, London bombing or Asian Tsunami. It only takes a minute to register and it only takes a few seconds for accidents to happen.  Help NOKR help you stay safe.  Please take a few minutes out of your day and safeguard the ones you love, it’s the best gift you’ll ever give this holiday. Visit WWW.NOKR.ORG

Mark Cerney the Founder and Executive Director Said “NOKR is preparing Americans from Coast to Coast. NOKR has nationwide visibility and can be found on the California State websites www.ca.gov under quick hits, on the Texas State website under Featured Sites http://www.texas.gov on the Florida State website http://florida.gov under Hot Topics as well as our nations capital at the Washington DC Emergency Information Center http://eic.rrc.dc.gov listed under Emergency Information. NOKR is listed on most all US State websites.  Mark Cerney also went on to say “NOKR has spanned beyond the USA and has nearly 1000 volunteers working to spread the word and register those in their community in almost every nation from Australia to Zimbabwe”.

Johnny Keene NOKR’s resident law enforcement expert and also the Assistant Executive Director at NOKR said “The rewards of being involved with NOKR came full circle as I reunited those displaced in shelters in the recent Katrina disaster. Our volunteers in the affected areas of this disaster had forwarded NOKR the list of those in shelters nationwide. I was charged with running many of those names for families seeking to find their lost loved ones". Johnny also said that he was authorized to perform these searches not as a staff member of NOKR but as a sworn law enforcement officer in Southern California.     

In 2005 the National Next of Kin Registry was introduced to Congress and the Senate in a series of bills (see HR 2560 The Elaine Sullivan Act, HR 3999.IH The National Emergency Family Locator Act and Senate Bill S. 1630), which specifically lists NOKR as a standard.

NOKR was established in 2003. The National Next of Kin Registry gained national attention and acclaim in the wake of hurricane Katrina and was created to help locate lost, missing, injured or deceased persons in our day-to-day operations. NOKR also helps in times of natural disaster or terrorist actions against the United States and its allies.

In the first half of 2006, NOKR hopes to launch one of the most ambitious projects in U.S. history called “Reach Out To America (ROTA).” The ROTA campaign will visit all US States and over 250 cities, in three specially designed mobile command centers in an effort to register 50 million people within the year. The ROTA campaign was set to launch in late 2005 but was pushed back due to Hurricane Katrina needs.

How is NOKR funded? Mark Cerney our founder sold his modest home in Washington State to start and fund the NOKR organization. Now the Organization relies on donations from individuals and corporations.

10 Quick tips to Keep Your Family Safe this Holiday Season

  • Select your emergency point of contact / next of kin and store this information some place visible like your, Wallet, Purse, Backpack or Vehicle Glove Box.
  • Make your information water / weather resistant by laminating.
  • If possible list an instate and out of state point of contact for you or your family, example (Brother, Sister, Mother, Father, Best Friend, Neighbor, Attorney, ect.) 
  • If possible, list more than one person to be contacted if an urgent need arises.
  • Make sure you have up to date contact information for your contact person(s).
  • Medical next of kin, establish who can make decisions for you when you cannot.
  • Write out any medical concerns or allergies to medications.
  • Never travel locally, nationally or internationally with out this information above.
  • Always keep an update photograph of your children in your purse or wallet; this can be used if your child is missing in a store, mall, theme park or in a new place.
  • Register today at NOKR and print the optional registration card, laminate it and keep this card with your driver’s license, identification card or passport.  For children place a card on file at school or attach the card to a backpack.

Remember this, who will speak for you when you can’t? NOKR will and it’s FREE.

The National Next of Kin Registry is a nonprofit (501C 3) organization and is headquartered in Temecula, California.


For Immediate Release
September 23, 2005
Contact: Irma Flores, James Whiting
Phone: (951) 684-2585

National Next of Kin Registry (NOKR)

Helping prepare for the possible separation of loved as Hurricane Rita bears down

RIVERSIDE, CA The National Next of Kin Registry (NOKR) is an emergency contact system that has been working daily registering, matching, and locating families and loved ones displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Headquartered in Temecula, California, the emergency call center is temporarily located at the Riverside County Office of Emergency Services, a larger facility that can better handle NOKR’s highest registration and call flow ever. As a result of the high demand NOKR continues to recruit volunteers to assist families still seeking information on those missing or not yet accounted for.

As Hurricane Rita bears down on Texas, NOKR continues to support and work closely with local, state and federal officials, police and fire, emergency disaster agencies such as the American Red Cross, and faith based organizations across the country to effectively manage and respond to the potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm.

According to NOKR founder, Mark Cerney, “We are standing ready to assist our country as a point of contact for missing, injured or deceased persons. Public trust agencies such as local, state and federal emergency personnel and designated military command are provided access to our secure emergency information to assist in helping all individuals in dire times of need.” Mark further states that by registering on NOKR, emergency agencies nationally and internationally are notified as to who should be contacted if you or your family member is missing or injured. Carrying a driver's license, passport or identification card helps authorities know who you are but not necessarily who should be contacted; this is not enough as Hurricane Katrina unfortunately revealed. In a natural disaster situation personal information is often-times destroyed or not readily available. People need to be prepared to have a next of kin speak for them or their family member when they cannot.

With Hurricane Rita intensifying, all individuals are urged to call NOKR’s Emergency Registration Hot Line at (800) 915-5413 and register themselves and/or their loved ones or go to www.nokr.org.  Registration is free. NOKR encourages you to download the Optional Registration Card, fill it out and carry it with you.  



September 3, 2005


CNN Larry King Live
How You Can Help Katrina Victims

View Here>

The Next of Kin Registry appears on CNN and CNN’s Larry King Live to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina. 

A natural disaster. What maybe the worst catastrophe in U.S. history. Devastation, desperation, utter despair. But in the mist of unspeakable heartbreak acts of heroism and flashes of hope. Tonight responding to the crisis after Hurricane Katrina, making the difference between life and death. A three hour CNN LARRY KING LIVE special, "How you can help".

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and charity organization officials are participating to give guidance on relief efforts.

Other guests included: Marty Evans, Red Cross CEO and president; Nick MacDonald, senior program officer of Mercy Corps; Jonathan Reckford, pastoral leader for Habitat for Humanity; Maj. George Hood, national community relations secretary of the Salvation Army; Bob Forney, president and CEO of America's Second Harvest; John Hill of the National Next of Kin Registry; Nancy Aossey, president and CEO of the International Medical Corp.; and Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard.


August 28, 2005


The National Next of Kin Registry (NOKR) would like to ask the Media to inform the public to safeguard themselves and their family during Hurricane Katrina by register at the NOKR. NOKR is a high-speed solution to locating your Next Of Kin or Emergency point of contact in urgent situations when an individual is missing, injured or deceased.

If your living in the hurricanes path or you have family in the potential landfall area you need to use NOKR.

NOKR is a free service to the public as well as the Local and State agencies using the search service. To register or learn more, visit the organizations website at http://www.nokr.org. 

NOKR resource links can be found on the States below:

State Of Louisiana

Family Life

State Of Mississippi
Living in Mississippi

State Of Texas
On front page Under Featured Site

NOKR also is listed on the Florida State http://florida.gov under Hot Topics and also under


Thank you for bringing this information to the citizens.


August 3, 2005

Site aids police search for next of kin

View the video Click to view the video

A non-profit organization is relying on the power, ease and speed of the Internet to notify family members in the event of an emergency or disaster.

Wednesday the Troy Police Department joined forces with a national Web service that will help them to do their jobs better.  But most importantly, it will help families to deal with what they hope will never happen.

There's an aspect of Detective Sgt. John Cooney's job as a member of the Troy Police Department's Special Victim's Unit that he doesn't like: informing family members that their loved one is either seriously injured or dead.

“It is a difficult job, but we've learned to be sympathetic, compassionate and also direct.  It's the best approach,” Cooney said.

A new tool might not make that difficult task any less emotional, but it will make locating families easier.  The free, online Next of Kin Registry allows you to enter the contact information for the person you want notified in case of an emergency.  Then law enforcement agencies like Troy police access the password-protected site and connect with that intended family member directly.

“It's tough to ask around within a family who you need to talk to without coming through with information you might want to keep close to the vest until you talk to that next of kin,” Cooney said.

NOKR will also allow cops like Cooney to do their job better.  Sometimes hours can be wasted trying to track down a relative and in emergency situations every second counts.  It’s a high tech solution to a tough situation.

“This department is vigilant about how we do our notifications -- always in person with someone prepared to do it right,” Cooney said.

NOKR is a free service for the public as well as the local and state agencies using it.

The site promises that registration is secure and Cooney didn't see anything on it that would lead him to think otherwise.



August 2, 2005

National Next of Kin Registry Helps Locate Loved Ones in Emergency

By Tim Wetzel

- Florida

When somebody dies or is to close to death, the Sheriff's Office has the grim task of finding family and letting them know what happened.

"It never gets easier, no matter how you look at it, you are delivering bad news to a family," said Lt. Bill Rule.

But sometimes just finding next of kin can be tough in itself.  People move around a lot and many have given up home phones for cell phones, that means they aren't in the phone book and are hard to reach.

"They're not listed in the directory, they're not listed in 411, so it does make it even more difficult to find people," said Rule.

Now a new website could make locating families easier. The National Next of Kin Registry or nokr.org allows people to enter the names of loved ones on a secure site. That information will then be given to law enforcement agencies like the Collier County Sheriff's Office.  So far, 5 million people have signed up for the free service.

"With people moving around so much, I would just encourage everybody to keep your information up to date, your driver's license up to date, and your next of kin info at you employer up to date," said Rule.



Registry helps track down next of kin

June 12, 2005

Temecula resident Mark Cerney

TEMECULA ---- When Mark Cerney and his wife were on their honeymoon in Hawaii, someone close to him died and was buried before he ever found out about it.

"To say I was devastated is an understatement," said Cerney, 38, a former Marine who lives in Temecula with his wife and three children.

Attuned to the plethora of technological options available these days, he wondered why no system existed to notify relatives of people who were either dead or injured, but couldn't speak for themselves.

The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, reinforced his conviction that something was lacking in the ability to notify family when emergency response officials were carrying bodies out of the rubble of the World Trade Center and people didn't know if their relatives were among the dead, he said.

Inspired to act, he enlisted his wife to help him in his effort. They originally intended to find someone else who was already working to expedite the contact process so they could help promote the service. But they couldn't find anything remotely like that, he said.

So they decided to do it themselves.

They created the National Next of Kin Registry, a free service that takes advantage of the Internet to provide peace of mind to the family and friends information for people who are missing, injured or dead. To date, about 4 million people, most in the United States, have registered, he added.

While the service is listed on the front page of the California state Web site and is also accessible on FirstGov.gov, the federal government's Web portal, officials with both the California Highway Patrol headquarters in Sacramento and the California State Coroners Association said they hadn't heard of it.

How it works

To register, people visit the Web site and enter information on themselves and their relatives or family members and their emergency contact information. The information is kept secure and only certain agencies can access it, Cerney said.

Registrants then print out a card that shows they are a member of the site. Those who mail in their applications also receive a decal that shows they're registered that can be affixed to driver's licenses and identification cards, Cerney said.

If anything happens to the people registered on the site, law enforcement and coroners who request authorization to access the site then have a quick and easy way to obtain emergency contact information, Cerney said.

"Once you leave home, if something happens, who will be contacted?" he said. "Would (authorities) know who to contact automatically? These agencies have a lot of resources. This is just a direct point of contact. It's not the solution, but it's a good first step."

Ultimately he would like the service to be so well-known and well-used that agencies access it automatically ---- even when it's not obvious that someone has registered, he said.

And, the service is free, a rarity these days.

"Some individuals don't have the means," Cerney said. "If you're affluent or homeless, I think you deserve the benefit of dignity if something happens to you."

Anyone could jot down their emergency contact information and stick it in their wallet, Cerney acknowledged, but he created the system as a wake-up call to motivate people to consider the issue on a large scale, he said.

"There's no collaborative effort to get people across the U.S. to think about that proactively," he said.

The service is also beneficial for those with cell phones who are not listed in the phone book, said Mel Mulligan, a friend of Cerney's and member of the organization's board of directors.

"How does law enforcement or other agencies track down next of kin in that kind of situation?" Mulligan asked.

Quite a few homeless people have registered, specifying that they don't have a permanent address and entering identifying information such as scars or tattoos, as well as emergency contact information, Cerney said.

The organization also has volunteers who fan out to places such as churches and convalescent centers and give people there information on how to register, Cerney said.

Gary Tindel, president of the California State Coroners Association, said the idea is a good one because coroners typically try all kinds of ways to dig up emergency contact information.

"We have problems every week with death cases trying to find next of kin," he said.

Labor of love

After launching the service in Washington state about a year and a half ago, Cerney and his wife, Kerri, plunked $95,000 into the nonprofit from the sale of their home and moved south.

They moved to Temecula in July because they believed Southern California would be a strategic area to serve the state, which is all they intended to do at first, Mark Cerney said. It was also a way to get back home because he is originally from San Diego and his wife is from Riverside.

But the service grew so fast that it quickly outgrew California, he said. It is now available in 28 states, with 14 others pending, Cerney said, adding that they're working on getting the rest of the country online as well.

He works in a home office where he can sit at his desk sans shoes, as he did during an interview in early May. His home office has shelves crammed with a collection of Coca-Cola items that came from one of his favorite uncles, he said.

As a former Marine, Cerney is used to dealing with stress. But being part of such traumatic events in people's lives has taken a toll, he said.

"I cry a lot," he said. "It's disheartening. We get phone calls and e-mails every day about people missing," he said.

The next goal for the nonprofit is to raise $5 million for a Reach Out to America campaign, a grassroots effort to let people throughout the country know that the service is available, with an emphasis on educating rural America, he said.

Similar efforts

A frustrating experience of not knowing what befell a loved one happened to Laura Greenwald, CEO of the Next of Kin Education Project, when her grandmother was hospitalized after a fall in Illinois and the hospital didn't contact her or her mother for 6 1/2 days. Her grandmother died before they could get to the hospital, she said.

Like Cerney and his wife, Greenwald, along with her mother, decided to fill the void.

With the help of state legislators, they wrote legislation for California and Illinois that says when a patient who is unconscious or unable to give consent is admitted to a hospital, the staff has to call the next-of-kin or some emergency contact within 24 hours.

The law was enacted in both states in 2001, Greenwald said. They also helped craft federal next-of-kin legislation that was recently introduced in the House of Representatives. It requires hospitals that receive Medicare funding to make "reasonable efforts" to get in touch with family members and other emergency contacts of an incapacitated patient within 24 hours of arrival.

In trying to help hospitals access emergency contact information for patients, they used the National Next of Kin Registry as an example of a potential resource for hospital staff.

But the service isn't quite ready for hospitals to access the Web site, Mark Cerney said. The Cerney's are working on creating a monitoring and accountability system so more industries, such as hospitals, can access the registry, he said.

Greenwald and her mother, Janet, are fans of Cerney's Web site, Laura Greenwald said.

"We really thought there should be some sort of a database where hospitals could go and find that information easily. ...We contacted (Mark) and said, 'This is great,'" Greenwald said.

And Mark Cerney gave kudos to the Greenwalds for trying to turn their misfortune into a federal law that can help people throughout the country.

"I really feel for their family what they've gone through," he said. "She and her mom have done really fantastic things in enacting laws in California and Illinois. Their tenacity is paying off. And having accountability for all these hospitals across the country, I think it's fantastic."

Contact staff writer Deirdre Newman at (951) 676-4315, Ext. 2623, or dnewman@californian.com.



Friday June 3, 2005  

National Next Of Kin Registry Honors Volunteer with
President’s Volunteer Service Award

 Award is a Prestigious National Honor for Volunteer Service

Temecula, CA –NOKR today announced it has awarded 1 volunteer with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, a national honor offered in recognition of volunteer service. 

Established in 2003, the Award is available on an annual basis to individuals, groups and families who have met or exceeded requirements for volunteer service and have demonstrated exemplary citizenship through volunteering.  As one of hundreds of Certifying Organizations participating in the Award program, NOKR confers the award to recognize the outstanding achievements of its volunteers.

Jessica Harris of Northford Connecticut volunteered as an NOKR Emergency Contact Volunteer (ECV). ECV'S explain NOKR's free service to individuals in their community and provide assistance completing the next of kin/emergency contact registration form for NOKR. Jessica has taken this volunteer service/commitment very serious.  Jessica’s follow through attitude is a true testament to her volunteerism. 

“In his 2002 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush created the USA Freedom Corps, and called on every American to make a lifelong commitment to volunteer service.  The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals and families who have answered that call,” said Mark Cerney, President, of NOKR. 

“America’s volunteers work to make our communities stronger and safer. As a Certifying Organization for the Award program, NOKR is proud to be aligned with this prestigious volunteer award, and we are especially proud of our volunteers who have made volunteer service a central part of their lives.” 

The President’s Volunteer Service Award is an award for volunteer service that every American – from every age and every walk of life – can aspire to achieve.  To be eligible to receive the Award, individuals, families and groups submit a record of their annual volunteer service hours to participating Certifying Organizations, such as NOKR, that will verify the service and deliver the Award. Award eligibility for individuals and groups is based on hour requirements varying by age. 

“These recipients of the President’s Volunteer Service Award are role models for all Americans,” Mark Cerney said.  “Each volunteer hour contributed makes a difference in improving the quality of life for others, and I encourage everyone to contribute to our community by volunteering.  Volunteers bring us closer together as families, as communities and as a Nation, through their commitment.” 

The Award is issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, a group created by President Bush to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making to our Nation.  Chaired by two-time Super Bowl Champion Darrell Green, with former U.S. Senators Bob Dole and John Glenn as honorary co-chairs, the Council comprises leaders in government, media, entertainment, business, education, nonprofits and volunteer service organizations, and community volunteering. 

For more information about volunteering for NOKR, visit http://www.nokr.org/volunteer.htm. 

For more information about how to qualify for the President’s Volunteer Service Award and to find out how to identify additional volunteer opportunities in this area, visit www.PresidentialServiceAwards.gov or call 1-866-545-5307.



For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 Contact: Frank Watkins, 202-225-0773

Jackson Introduces Next Of Kin Legislation

The Elaine Sullivan Act, H.R. 2560


Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., introduced H.R. 2560, into the House of Representatives today. H.R. 2560, also known as the "Elaine Sullivan Act", is designed to protect patients who are brought into a hospital unconscious or physically unable to give informed consent by making sure that their emergency contact or Next of Kin will be contacted within 24 hours.

Jackson said, "Most hospitals notify the Next of Kin of unconscious emergency room arrivals relatively quickly. However, emergency rooms are extremely high-pressured, intense and sometime chaotic environments. In the hustle and bustle of the ER, despite the dedication and professionalism of staff, there are real risks that a simple phone call may not be made in a timely fashion.

"This legislation is not intended to frustrate the mission of hospitals, but rather, facilitate it. It's about notifying the right people at the right time in order to share the right information during an emergency. It's a small, but significant measure to protect the voiceless and the vulnerable. Not only is it important to have a family member present to comfort the patient, but also to make informed decisions the patient can't make for him or herself and to provide the medical history that could very well be the difference between life and death," Jackson concluded.

The bill makes federal grants available to qualified not-for-profit organizations to establish and operate a national Next of Kin registry. People would voluntarily sign up. Hospitals would have access to the registry and could then notify the Next of Kin in case of an emergency. It requires hospitals that receive Medicare funding to make reasonable efforts to contact a family member, specified healthcare agent, or surrogate decision-maker of an incapacitated patient within 24 hours of arrival at the emergency department. It is modeled after similar laws in Illinois and California.

The bill is named for Elaine Sullivan, who at 71-years old, fell in her apartment and was taken to a nearby hospital. Although her daughter's phone number was in Elaine's chart, the hospital failed to notify Jan that her mother, Elaine, had been hospitalized. Just a few hours after she was finally notified, Elaine died, unnecessarily alone.

Elaine's daughter and granddaughter, Jan and Laura Greenwald, have worked to prevent similar tragedies from happening to other families.



Thursday, April 21, 2005 

National Next Of Kin Registry (NOKR) Joins With President Bush’s Council on Service and Civic Participation to Deliver President’s Volunteer Service Award

Prestigious Award Honors Outstanding Commitment to Volunteer Service 

Temecula, CA – NOKR today announced it has teamed with the White House to become a Certifying Organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award, a national program recognizing Americans who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to volunteer service. Established in 2003, the Award was created by President George W. Bush to give Presidential recognition to individuals, families and groups who meet requirements for volunteer service, measured by the number of service hours performed over 12-months. 

NOKR is one of thousands of organizations that have joined forces to deliver the President’s Volunteer Service Award and honor the volunteers who strengthen our Nation. As a Certifying Organization for the Award, NOKR is responsible for verifying service hours, nominating potential recipients and delivering the Award

“We are extremely proud to recognize our most outstanding volunteers with the President’s Volunteer Service Award,” said Mark Cerney President.  “NOKR volunteers are role models in our community, donating their time, energy and talent to bring us closer together as neighbors and a Nation. The Award is our way of thanking these volunteers and inspiring everyone in our community to make volunteering a central part of their lives.” 

“Even if you’ve never volunteered before, the President’s Volunteer Service Award is within your reach,” Mark Cerney said. “There are so many ways to contribute, and every volunteer hour makes a difference in improving the quality of life for others.  We encourage everyone to get involved and to bring along your family, friends and neighbors.  Together, we can strengthen America – one hour at a time.” 

The Award is issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, a group convened by President George W. Bush to help foster and encourage a culture of volunteer service and civic participation among Americans. Chaired by two-time Super Bowl Champion Darrell Green, with former U.S. Senators Bob Dole and John Glenn as honorary co-chairs, the Council is composed of leaders in government, media, entertainment, business, education, nonprofit and volunteer service organizations and community volunteering. 

For more information about volunteering with NOKR, visit the organizations website http://nokr.org/volunteer.htm. For more information on the President’s Volunteer Service Award and to find out how to identify additional volunteer opportunities in this area, visit www.PresidentialServiceAwards.gov or call 1-866-545-5307.



American Forces Press Service

Emergency Registry Helps Locate Family Members, Friends

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2005 – As news coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks flashed across television and computer screens, thousands of Americans wondered if family members living in or visiting New York or Washington, D.C., were alive and well.

Partially due to the personal turmoil caused by the 9/11 attacks, Mark Cerney, a disabled U.S. Marine veteran, established the National Next-of-Kin Registry, a free emergency contact system that can help citizens find missing loved ones in the event of serious accidents or catastrophic national emergencies.

The privately funded NOKR was officially established in January 2004, Cerney said during a Feb. 24 telephone interview from his office in Temecula, Calif. Four million people, he said, have registered to date. People can input personal data about themselves or loved ones at the registry's Web site.

Registry users, Cerney explained, include families and individuals registering personal information about themselves, their children, other relatives, and friends.

"All we need is a name and address as far as a point of contact (is concerned)," he pointed out, noting registrants may provide additional information if they so desire.

Cerney said he first became interested in starting a next-of-kin registry in 1990, when a family member died at a convalescent facility in San Diego.

"To my dismay, there was no way to contact me," noted Cerney, who was in Hawaii at the time, "even though the people at the facility knew that I was the next – of kin."

He recalled that he'd lost cell-phone contact with a close friend who was in New York City on the day of the terrorist attacks. The friend survived, but Cerney said he was shaken by the experience.

Cerney cited U.S. Centers for Disease Control statistics from 2003 that said 900,000 people in hospital emergency rooms that year couldn't provide emergency contact information because they were incapacitated by illness or injury. Several states, he noted, recently have passed laws requiring hospitals to collect information on patients' next of kin.

State-issued driver's licenses, Cerney pointed out, may contain some personal information, but "don't list a next of kin" in the event of an accident that may occur far away from the victim's home. And, most Social Security records, he added, don't identify next of kin.

And, for people who are single and live alone, Cerney observed, it's much harder for authorities to make a next-of-kin determination.

Other personal identification organizations exist, Cerney acknowledged, but they charge as much as $200 for their services. The NOKR gives affluent, less- wealthy, and indigent citizens the opportunity to archive personal information "in the event that that information is needed," he said.

The NOKR is unique, Cerney said, noting, "There's been no resource like this anywhere in the United States."

Some organizations linked to the NOKR, Cerney noted, include the "FirstGov" federal government Web site, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the National Center for Missing Adults, the National Association of Medical Examiners, the Amber Alert missing children system, homeless care organizations, and several state and local government and police agencies and coroner's offices.

The registry also is linked to the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, he said, as well as several tsunami-victim locator groups.

People who'd hesitate to use the NOKR because of privacy concerns shouldn't worry, Cerney said. Minimum information required for registration can be found in phone books, he explained, and much greater amounts of personal information can now be readily purchased over the Internet.




Indiana, Putnam County Coroner
February 18, 2005

Would authorities know who to contact in case you were in an accident or emergency?

The Putnam County Coroner's Office is encouraging citizens to register with the National Next of Kin Registry to avoid that issue.

Coroner Thomas B. Miller has recently learned of this website, which allows a person to register online. It allows only local and state agencies access to the information to locate next of kin information in the event of an emergency.

"In the past, the coroner's office has had extreme difficulty locating the next of kin to notify of one's death," Miller said. "I wish to encourage individuals to take a little time to register not only themselves, but also all of their loved ones. The information can be utilized not only by coroner's offices throughout the state, but also by law enforcement agencies, hospitals as well as other state agencies working to locate a next of kin."

National Next of Kin Registry is a nonprofit public benefit organization. NOKR does not share personal information for the general population to view or purchase. NOKR is archiving information for emergency use only.

"I will register anyone who does not have access to a computer," Miller said. "I am also always available to answer questions about NOKR or the coroner's office. Feel free to call me at 765-653-9950."

Anyone wishing to register can access the website at www.nokr.org.


    Temecula, CA February 9, 2005 -- In a campaign marked "Reach Out to America"  NOKR will Reach Out to 250 cities across the nation, registering and educating Americans on the free, international emergency contact system. Through a mobile command center, NOKR will be stationed in each city for three days for individuals to register themselves and their family members. The program is aimed specifically toward children, elderly, the homeless and those without Internet or media access. People who register will receive either a decal for their driver's license or identification card, an official registration card or a metal identification tag that indicates they (or their family member) are registered.

    This will be the largest ever campaign to register next of kin in the nation. NOKR is a system intended to help public agencies locate a registered individual's next of kin or emergency point of contact. With the recent tsunami in Southeast Asia, many people in the United States have been affected. With so many individuals missing, authorities can find it difficult to locate next of kin. NOKR works in alliance with members of local and international authorities to quickly identify the next of kin.

    The non-profit organization is looking to raise $5 million for supplies and equipment for the nationwide outreach program, relying solely on donations to provide its services.  In the event of a natural, man-made disaster or even a terrorist act, this registry has a true value to help locate an individual's Next Of Kin or emergency point of contact.

    Many people believe that if they are carrying a driver's license or identification card, authorities will know who their emergency contact is in case someone is missing, injured or deceased. Often times though, the information is not current or readily available and it becomes very difficult to locate next of kin. In one example, the NOKR system would benefit the scores of individuals that arrive in emergency rooms across the country, that are unable to provide vital contact information. According to the US Center For Disease Control that number was significant at 900,000 in 2003.

To donate or register, or for more information, visit the website at


The Marlin Democrat
New program to make emergency notification to families quicker
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
New program to make emergency notification to families quicker

by Denise Schoppe, Staff Writer

In an emergency, time is critical. When anything happens, not only is it important for the victims to be taken care of immediately, it is necessary that someone be notified of the situation.

"Often when something happens, everyone ends up standing around scratching their heads wondering, 'Who is this person?' and 'Who do we contact?'," Rob Douglas, Falls County Emergency Management, said. "That is where the National Next of Kin Registry is a big help."

The National Next of Kin Registry (NOKR) is a nonprofit organization created to assist in the notification process when an individual is missing, critically injured or deceased. It is a quick solution to locating anyone's Next Of Kin in urgent situations.

"It is a free service and anyone can sign up," Douglas said. "All information that is provided in registration is protected and secure. The only people with access to the information is law enforcement and emergency management agencies."

The way the system works, is anyone can visit the NOKR website (www.pleasenotifyme.org) and fill out the registration page or fill out a form to mail-in or fax to register either themselves and a point of contact for next of kin, or they can register a family member and a point of contact.

Who is set to be notified is up to the individual. If can be family, friend or significant other as a point of contact. Each registration is date stamped, and it is possible to register multiple times. If someone registers several times, each registration is stored and indexed individually by date. The information is kept secure and is sent encrypted to a secure area on a separate server once registration is complete.


"Falls County Emergency management coordinators would like to see everyone participate," Douglas said.

"It is a very time consuming process to located family members in an emergency. Often the information is not available at all. This service will make that process faster and simpler."

When registering, NOKR only asks for the individual's name, address, city and state. Optionally, they can add their telephone number, date of birth/age or upload an optional photo. For the Next Of Kin, they only collect name, address, city and state. Optionally it is possible to also provide a telephone number and email address. The optional items are just that, optional.

"All information is protected," Douglas said. "The information is never released to the public, only law enforcement."

There are no limitations to the service. It is dedicated to helping individuals with the notification process Internationally. This service can be used to register anyone, including a child, teenager, older individuals living alone, and homeless. In the event of a natural, man-made disaster or even a terrorist act, this registry has a true value to help locate an individual's Next Of Kin or emergency point of contact.

"It helps EMS and police departments locate family members," Douglas said. "Its all about doing it as soon as possible."

To register with NOKR, visit their website at http://www.pleasenotifyme.org, or pick up an application to mail or fax at city hall or at The Marlin Democrat office.


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