One of my favorite things about being a reporter is having the opportunity to meet new and interesting people. I feel privileged to listen to their stories and honored to share those stories with our readers.
Sometimes these stories are heartwarming; sometimes they’re heartbreaking. Quite often they’re inspirational, and Rebeka Geer’s story was one of these.
I interviewed 19-year-old Rebeka earlier this year after she returned from a mission trip to Tanzania. She told me about her mother’s struggles with alcoholism, which forced Rebeka to spend most of her teen years in foster care. Rebeka, a former parishioner at Auburn’s Holy Family Parish, worked hard in high school and earned a full scholarship to the University of Georgia. She moved down South by herself and works part time as a waitress when she’s not in class.
Rebeka sounded cheery and upbeat as she recounted her hardships. Her past made her independent, she said, and helping impoverished orphans in Tanzania made her realize how lucky she really is.
Auburn reader Gerri Pelc was touched by Rebeka’s strength and positive outlook. Gerri contacted me in March and asked if I could put her in touch with Rebeka, so I passed Gerri’s contact information to Rebeka and didn’t think much of it.
Until one afternoon a few weeks ago when I received an unexpected phone call from Gerri, who sounded as if she were positively beaming. She’d just returned from lunch with Rebeka, who was visiting her brother in Auburn. Apparently she and the younger woman had hit it off and promised to keep in touch, and Gerri thanked me for bringing them together.
I was beaming myself when we hung up. As wonderful as it is to share people’s stories, it’s even better to realize those stories make differences in others’ lives.