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    Posted July 17, 2014 by
    Morehead, Kentucky
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    First Person: Your essays

    Help Dennis!

    My family and I are in desperate need of help. We have pleaded with government officials, sent letters to President Obama, and requested help from international missionaries. My cousin, Dennis Walling, has been jailed in Ecuador as an innocent American citizen. This story has aired on local news channels in our area, but to our dismay, has not gone any further. We're asking to receive national attention, so that hopefully, my cousin can receive the justice he deserves and come home to his family.

    My name is DENNIS LEE WALLING.

    At Quito International Airport on 20 April 2014 , Easter Sunday, I was approached by Ecuadorian law enforcement officials at the departure gate of my scheduled flight and was arrested after a suitcase bearing a name tag with my credentials was found containing 3 kilograms of cocaine. I am currently being held and awaiting trial by the Ecuadorian Justice Ministry. The United States Department of State is aware of my case and say it is being monitored very closely. I am told that my name is mentioned daily throughout the Washington, DC office and the United States Embassy in Ecuador.


    From my Father and his fathers before him I inherited a belief in duty, honor, and loyalty. Many generations in my ancestry served in the military. When I came of age and it was my time to serve I chose a different path. Since 1996 I have served my home and my country as a Firefighter and as an Emergency Medical Technician. In my years of service I have brought life into this world and beared witness as life faded away. I have protected homes and property from flame. I have rescued and provided comfort to those in need.


    I have always proudly flown and displayed our countries flag. At home, in Kentucky, I fly my American flag from dawn to dusk and salute it with military conduct and precision. I always make sure to properly fold and store my flag. While overseas on contract in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I watched in awe as the 3rd Battalion, 6 Marines saluted my flag above Camp Fallujah on Independence Day and again on the Anniversary of September the 11th in 2008. When I return home I will continue to fly my flag, the flag of my people, the standard of my home.


    Like many others I was lured to Ecuador under false pretenses. I was flown to Ecuador with the promise of a well paying job so that I could better support my family. At first, it was like a vacation. I explored Quito and took in the local culture. I visited a local fire station close to my hotel and was even allowed to ride with the Chief on emergency calls. A gift from Firefighters whom I had never met, but still called brother. But then I was given a suitcase and a plane ticket to England. It was then that I was set up and made scapegoat to take the fall for an international drug cartel. An unfortunate soul now labeled and chastised as a "mule".


    Every morning I awake to the sound of the Ecuadorian National Anthem and told to salute their flag. Every morning I refuse and instead sing "The Star Spangled Banner" and pledge allegiance to the United States . I believe in and support my government and my country no matter what politician is in office. For nineteen years I have dedicated my time and sacrificed my life, both at home and overseas, to protect it's people from harm. And now I ask my government, my country, and my people for help. Here alone I cannot trust anyone. I receive little assistance and I feel abandoned to fate.

    It is my sincere hope that my story will be brought to world view and that action and interventions will be taken. I thank God every day for this opportunity to suffer. I sleep easy at night with the knowledge that those 3 kilograms of cocaine were found and not distributed. I have seen the effects that this drug has on people. In my defense I have a clean history, a respectful reputation, and of strong moral virtue. I have no drug related offenses in my past. Being an EMT I have worked for many years around various narcotics, with easy access, and was never once tempted by deception or greed. I am a God fearing family man, devoted husband, and father of two wonderful boys.


    For hundreds of years distress has been indicated by tying a knot in a flag and then flying it upside down. My flag is inverted and I am sending out the distress signal to all who will listen. Please read my story and know the truth, for the truth shall set me free."
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