Mom Grieves Loss of Son in Haiti

Memorial service planned for Feb. 20 in Florida

After weeks of hope her son would be pulled alive from the rubble in Haiti, a Fort Worth mother said Saturday it is now time to grieve.

Sally Baldwin's 35-year-old son, Brendan Beck, was feared to be trapped in the Hotel Montana after it collapsed during the earthquake in Port-au-Prince earlier this month.

"The first week I was hopeful he would be found. The past week I have been working diligently with government officials to ensure that he will be brought home, and now the reality is sinking in and it is time to grieve," Baldwin wrote in an email to NBC DFW Saturday."There are no words to express the pain and loss."

Although he has not been found, a memorial service and celebration of Brendan's life will be held on Feb. 20 in Jupiter, Fla.

Beck is from Florida, but most recently resided in Washington, D.C. Baldwin is also from Florida, but currently lives in Fort Worth after getting a job with Lockheed Martin.

Beck wasn't even supposed to be in Port-au-Prince when the devastating quake struck. Baldwin said her son's connecting flight to a city on the northern part of Haiti was cancelled. That forced Beck and five other colleagues he was traveling with to book hotel rooms to stay the night in Haiti.

Baldwin said Beck is a civil engineer for a company who was contracted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to analyze infrastructure in northern Haiti.

Matthew Beck, Brendan's brother, said Brendan sent an email to family that was time stamped just nine minutes before the quake began. The email simply stated that he made it to Haiti safely. Matthew also said in an email to DFW that his brother was chatting with his girlfriend just seconds before the quake began.

Brendan's 35th birthday was just three days after the Haiti Earthquake.

Baldwin traveled last week to Washington, D.C. to speak with lawmakers and government officials. She wanted the state department to be held more accountable and provide quicker answers to the hundreds of American families who are in her position. Baldwin said she just wanted to know that her son will be safely and appropriately returned to the US once he is found.

She spoke with several lawmakers and government officials during her trip. She said most were sympathetic to her plight and agreed to help out in any way they could.

Then, during a Department of State conference call last week, she got the answers to the questions she had been asking for weeks. A plan was finally communicated for the safe return of Americans' bodies pulled from the rubble.

Once a body is found, an initial investigation will be conducted to determine that person's nationality. If the nationality is determined to be American, Baldwin said, that person will be sent to the US Embassy in Port-Au-Prince. Baldwin said the state department told her the embassy would then prepare the bodies to be sent to Dover Airforce Base, where they will coordinate with families on where to transport the bodies from there.

"This State Department call was an indication that our mission was accomplished," Baldwin wrote in a prepared statement Saturday.

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