WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Since it began, the non-profit CUE Center for Missing Persons has helped more than 9,000 people. Some of them are in Wilmington this weekend for the CUE Center's eighth annual National Round Table Conference.
The conference is a chance for law enforcement, search and rescuers and even the families of missing people to come together to support each other.
"I think without the CUE Center and Monica Caison we would have never recovered Allison," Lisa Valentino said.
Valentino knows what many people attending the conference are going through. Her sister Allison Jackson Foy disappeared in Wilmington back in July 2006. Foy's body was found two years later. Along the way Valentino says the CUE Center and founder Monica Caison helped her and her family.
"From the moment we called them she was here with us while my family and I were in Wilmington," Valentino said. "For 10 days, from morning until night, we searched in the worst areas of Wilmington to the best areas. That help and that education and that advocacy continued throughout those two years before she was recovered."
The CUE Center is locally based, but has grown into a national organization.
With more than 1,600 active cases, this weekend is about raising awareness, improving communication among agencies and supporting the families of those missing.
"We teach them how to be advocates for their family member that's missing or their loved ones so that when they leave here they can go back to their community and deal with their law enforcement and the media and how to keep their family and missing loved one in the public's eye," CUE Center Board member Faith Wilson.
The conference kicked off this afternoon with training for search and rescue units.
Tomorrow law enforcement leaders will welcome more than 200 families of the missing.
Saturday at 7:30 p.m. there's a vigil at Riverfront Park in honor of those victims. The public is welcome to attend.