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Labor Camp Volunteer Searches for Missing Brother

The Air Force Veteran was on a bike trip in Northern California when he disappeared.

A San Jose State University student who has been tutoring children in Watsonville's farm labor camps is asking for the community's help now.

Scott Hallgren's younger brother, Matthew Porter, was on an epic coastal bike trip when he lost contact with his family.

Porter, a 30-year-old Air Force veteran, was last seen Sept. 6 in Mendocino County.

Porter was discharged from the military in the summer of 2011 following an 11-year active duty career, including two tours in Afghanistan. He suffers from PTSD and thought a long bike journey along the Pacific Coast would help him find his way.

"In an effort to work through the painful effects of PTSD, he set out to ride his bicycle from Portland through California," Hallgren said.

Porter has a 12-year-old son and a girlfriend. He had been in regular contact with his family until two weeks ago, his brother said.

"He faithfully served this country and now needs our help," Hallgren said.

Hallgren is a familiar face to many of Watsonville's neediest families. He launched an outreach program at the Buena Vista migrant camp: the TOUUCh program. Tutor Outreach Uniting Communities for Change was created and is run by volunteer college students with a passion for social justice.

He's traced his brother's movements through Sept. 6, when Porter met new friends in Fort Bragg, then headed to nearby Caspar to stay with them. A hotelier at the Casper Inn recalled meeting Porter, a charismatic, gregorious man, Hallgren said.

Porter, who's been living in Portland, OR, is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 190 pounds with brown, buzz-cut hair and brown eyes. He has an athletic build and was in good physical health.

"His struggles with PTSD put him at great risk and we need to find him quickly," Hallgren said. 

Adults are legally allowed to go missing. Unless there is a reason to believe they are in danger, such as medical concern, it can be difficult to launch an official search.

Hallgren said even though his brother went missing far from Santa Cruz County, he hoped people would share information about his brother's disappearance with friends and relative in Northern California in the hopes that Porter may be found safe.

If anyone has any information about Porter please contact Hallgren at (408) 799-1267 or email find.matthewporter@gmail.com. There also is a Help Find Matt Facebook page.

Scott Hallgren September 22, 2012 at 07:37 AM
Thank you Jennifer for posting this. One editorial note: Matthew's last name is Porter but otherwise everything you said is correct. After a one year tour in Korea and a tour in Afghanistan, Matt volunteered for a second tour in Afghanistan so that his fellow soldiers could stay home with their families. He did everything this nation asked of him and more and I just ask that we can show him that we appreciate his sacrifice by helping to bring him home. Please help me to spread the word to anyone and everyone that may be able to help. Thank you in advance for your support!
Butch Cole September 22, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Scott.....I hope that your brother just needed some 'time to himself' and that you hear from him very soon! Jennifer...thanks for the article.
Jennifer Squires September 22, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Fixed. Thanks!
Randy Layehe September 23, 2012 at 04:27 PM
hopefully in Humboldt .best of luck amigo.
Jennifer Squires September 24, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Great news! Matthew and Scott connected. Thanks to all of you for sharing this story with friends and family to help get the word out. It made all the difference. http://watsonville.patch.com/articles/missing-veteran-found-safe-brother-reports

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