Alex Grant (1980 - 1999)
Founder of #thefort on IRC DalNet
The name "The Fort" comes from a friendship I made on-line back when I was new to the web. With a lot of time on my hands I had my first experience with IRC [Internet Relay Chat]. It was the first time outside of AOL that I could enter chat rooms. The first chat I had accidentally found when looking for people to talk to was called #thefort. I had a chance to meet an extraordinary teen named Alex, who was also the founder of the chat room. Alex was abused as a child and offered his chat as a sort of support group for others like him and for anyone else who just wanted to hear a voice from the other side of the screen. There were people of all ages in there on a regular basis. All kind with a helping hand for those who needed it. I never really felt that I got to know Alex as well as others had but, his efforts will not be forgotten by many. Alex passed away about a year after I had first entered his chat from an illness that he had been battling for a very long time. The room is now nothing more than a bittersweet memory for those of us who were lucky enough to have been a part of it. Alex will be missed dearly by many. He was a bright light in an otherwise dark world. May his light forever shine and help other lost souls find their way home.
Danny Medina (1982 - Missing 2000)
My On-Line Little Brother
When I stumbled across the site that led me into #thefort, I was seeking out abuse survivors to talk to. I was going through a horrible time in my life and needed someone who understood to talk to. Danny, being the victim of many abuses, as with many of the visitors in that channel, made it easier for me to stop beating around the bush about my own history (Having been cornered and raped by my uncle at the age of 10, and keeping it a secret because I felt I was at fault.) and how much it had eaten me up inside once I convinced myself "If only I said something and put him behind bars, There would never be the question as to whether or not others fell victim to him after me..."
Much of this Danny and I spoke about within the first week of meeting each other. Even though it was long distance, we adopted each other as brothers but it always killed me that I couldn't be there for him. We chatted, Emailed, Voice Chatted, and I called him once in a while if I missed him online. He was more than a friend to me. I loved the hell out of him, but never set eyes on him, other than one single picture.
It's funny, just thinking of how much the internet had brightened the lives of so many people. The bond that can be created from text written on a screen should never be taken lightly. The fact that, even though separated by hundreds or even thousands of miles, best friends can still be developed, and their loss be felt just as strongly as if the person was born and raised with you. I felt sick when I learned he had a stroke back in 1999 following kidney failure the previous year and coping with diabetes which complicated everything else. I couldn't stop the tears when I had to remind him who I was the night I found out what had happened and finally got to talk to him after so much time had passed. I felt much better once he finally remembered who I was but felt something was missing in the convos that followed. I knew then that something wasn't completely right but, remained cheerful on screen to keep his spirits up. We spent two nights in chat working on his own space inside what was then called "Jeff's Fort", then he just vanished, forever.
I can only assume that Danny was lost in the summer of 2000 when all of his contacts lost touch with him at the same time I did. I had always hoped I would find my little brother in one of the local hospitals in his hometown, but never even found any concrete leads. "I miss you little bro! and know someday we will meet, even if it means waiting 'til my time here is done..."
Another Special Friend
Yes, I can't forget to mention a certain little "Rat" who has overcome great odds and done so well over the time I have known him. In this case, No names will be mentioned, and no stories told but, you know who you are and why you are here. You may not know it, but I am so happy for you, and proud of you for what you have overcome and accomplished. *Big Hug* My thoughts and hopes are with you always!
A Boy Named Logan
another true survivor
Years ago, I had learned of a tragic event which was brought up in our readers forum. One that involves unspeakable violence to a child, at the hands of his own father. He was hospitalized and stable (back at the time of writing this) and has since recovered, but will carry those scars for the rest of his life. Why? Just Why... Unfortunately, this happens everyday, to literally thousands of kids who did nothing more than just being born, to deserve to be beaten by the very same people who brought them into the world. Logan, My prayers are with you, and a portion of this site is dedicated to you... Bought you a Strawberry Milkshake too! ;)