ANACORTES, Wash. - Family members say they're grateful for an outpouring of community support, which includes a candlelight vigil and a weekend search effort, in finding a missing retired high school counselor.
Keith Arthur Anderson, 63, left the Anacortes Jan. 6 to meet an unidentified acquaintance in the Arlington area and hasn't been seen or heard from since.
"As a brother, we were best of friends," said Keith's brother Chris Anderson. "We usually had coffee two or three times a week."
Keith was a counselor at Anacortes High School for 23 years.
"He loved his students, he loved his work and he was very good at it and encouraged and awful lot of kids," said Chris.
On Wednesday, Brian Geer, executive director of the local Red Cross chapter, found himself juggling international disaster relief with a personal search for his former counselor. Geer is organizing a grassroots search for Saturday morning, unaffiliated with his job, of Western Washington backroads where Anderson may be. They plan to gather at the Penguin Coffee in Anacortes at 8:30 a.m.
"Keith was always just someone who always had a word of wisdom to set you back on your path," said Geer. "Our goal is just to head out and be extra eyes on the road."
Meanwhile, others in the community are showing their support, too. Anacortes Printing provided 300 color flyers with Keith's picture to be distributed from Anacortes to Lake Stevens.
Hundreds of people have also offered help on various Web sites, from Facebook to the one for the TV show "Deadliest Catch." Keith is the father of a fisherman featured on that show, Jake Anderson, who left on an expedition the same week Keith went missing.
"Keith has always been there when Jake has left," said Chris. "And so that next morning was the first time that Keith wasn't there when his son for Alaska."
And as neighbors come together for this weekend's search, a family just wants to know what happened.
"We're hoping that he will come back and everything will be okay," Chris said, "but we don't know anything and ... the open end is more difficult than either of the possibilities."
Anderson left his residence with only a small amount of cash, no clothes or other personal items, said police. He has a history of medical issues and may be depressed due to recent family problems.
He was last seen driving his white Ford Ranger, license plate B08111F.
Anyone with information is asked contact Anacortes Police at 360-293-4684.