An Oak Park dad who went missing for a few days last week made his first public comments Monday night, thanking friends, neighbors and “kind strangers” for the three-day search for him that ended Friday.

Jassen Strokosch, 39, disappeared the morning of Wednesday, July 20, setting off a public search effort that had volunteers passing out fliers all over the area, and people scouring the Thatcher Woods Forest Preserve for his whereabouts. That ended Friday, as friends and family announced that Strokosch was found alive, and was at a local hospital.

Strokosch — a father of two, who recently gained local attention for his leadership in a campaign to support the District 97 referendum — and his family have asked the public for privacy following his reappearance on Friday. But the following message from Strokosch was posted on Facebook Monday night, before the page that was setup for the search effort was taken down shortly after:

Dear friends, neighbors and kind strangers,

I am indescribably touched and humbled by the selfless help you provided in the search for me and most importantly in buoying my family in my absence, from giving them moral support through words and actions, to taking in our two wonderful kids and cooking meals. To those who searched tirelessly, a million thanks. I can never thank you properly, but my gratefulness will never fade. I also want to apologize for the disturbance the past days created. As thankful as I am for the awe-inspiring response, I am sorry so many of you had to set aside work and your loved ones for the sake of our family. But this is what makes Oak Park and communities like it so special, because we stick with each other. I feel honored and fortunate to call Oak Park home. And to those of you who inquired and helped from thousands of miles away, you proved that distance is only physical. It has been hard for a private person like me to have such a difficult chapter in our lives play out publicly. This was a personal issue that reached a crisis point. And now my family and I are receiving help to deal with it and move on. Please know we have what we need, which is first and foremost each other. There will never been enough time and words to express the love and deep gratitude I feel for all of you. Thanking you from the bottom of my heart is the best I can do.

P.S. I expect to take a break from the online world for some time to focus on this one, so please do not be offended if I do not respond to posts here. I look forward to seeing all of you soon.

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