DOSWELL, VA (WWBT) – There are big changes for volunteers wanting to join in the search for Robert Wood Jr. If you plan on lending a helping hand Friday, you'll be meeting at the Meadow Event Park, instead of King's Dominion.
The amusement park has its Halloween events starting Friday, which sometimes brings 30,000 to 40,000 people to the park. Emergency responders told NBC12 the addition of the volunteers looking for little Robert might be too much for the facility.
When crews started their desperate search for the 8-year old boy, they never thought they'd still be looking for him come Friday.
"I really believed that we would have found him by Monday or Sunday," said Hanover Fire and EMS Chief Willie Jones.
Now five days later, in addition to the search efforts emergency responders are taking on a massive move. We met Jones as dusk was turning to dark and crews were still working.
"It's a pretty big endeavor now," he said. "Basically it's like moving a small tent city over with trailers, mobile commands, things like that."
The heated, fully enclosed hard-top tents are different from what they were utilizing at the original site. They're ready for the inclement weather. Stakes go four feet into the ground and will protect the tents from wind gusts up to 35mph.
Authorities will have tasks for 1000 volunteers Friday, which is the start of a weekend when the Celtic Festival will also be held at the park. Jones said they're working to ensure the change won't be confusing.
"We'll have signs of where to go," he explained. "As always all our police officers and firefighters will direct them where to park. We'll come the same way. It'll all be just spelled out."
Another change Friday morning is in the timing. Previously trained volunteers should arrive at Gate 9 at eight o'clock to be sent out immediately. If you haven't volunteered yet, come to the park at nine o'clock for processing.
In addition to your search-appropriate clothing, you should also bring a raincoat in anticipation of bad weather.
"You get the opportunity to go out and make a difference and you may find this child," Jones urged. "That will definitely make an effect. The rest of your life you remember I helped find Robert."