The hardest thing I do as the News on 6 crime reporter for the past 16 years is also the most rewarding; interviewing victims. I have listened to terrible stories of betrayal, pain, hurt, devastation and grief. But, I am constantly amazed by the strength, courage and perseverance many victims show. I was reminded of that again this week when I interviewed a 20 year old woman who was beaten in the head with a hammer during a robbery at her job. She still suffers from the effects of that devastating injury, but, she was sweet and funny and still working at the same job. She realizes this incident is a part of her life story, but, refuses to let it own her, define her or ruin her.
I am amazed by the two families I have interviewed countless times who were brought together by a horrendous double murder. For years, they went through trials, appeals, re-trials, more appeals, disappointments, but, they always found a way to laugh, they always found a way to give back their community. I became so close to them during the coverage, they honored me by attending my wedding. I will never be able to tell them how much I (and many others) admire them and what a wonderful example they are of overcoming.
I'm inspired by the mother whose daughter and two baby grandsons were murdered by her son-in-law. Instead of letting her grief take over her life, she has dedicated it to helping countless other victims get the recognition and rights they need in the courts.
There are so many. I remember their faces and their names and I marvel at what terrible things have been visited upon them, yet they cling to values of love, family and helping others.
I have cried during many an interview. I don't think it makes me less objective, it just makes me human. You can't do this job, especially the crime beat, without hurting for those who share their stories with you. I tell their stories because often it's the only chance they have to be heard, to have a voice, to tell about their pain.
I hope sharing their story helps them in some small way to heal. I know their stories inspire and encourage those who hear them and I am honored to be the one who gets to tell them.