The People of LRF
Founder and Executive Director, Bev Pomering
President, Jessica Zimbelman
Why Live R.E.A.L.?
Jessica watched Bev and Terry, two loving parents, each take their approach to reaching out to their son, Alex, as he journeyed down the road of addiction. She listened to her dear friend with a caring heart and a sense of helplessness. Jessica wanted desperately for their family’s struggle to end as a victory with the world knowing Alex for all he was created to give to it. Through their grief, her eyes opened to the real impact of opioid crisis in all of our communities. The loss of Alex wasn’t the first time Jessica witnessed damage and shame created by addiction in a home. She lived her childhood with a parent that was an addict and had her own path to healing from the scars of anxiety and depression it created. Through her young adult years Jessica watched a brother struggle with addiction; desperate for him to find his way to sobriety in this world. The situation with Jessica’s parent, her brother and now dear friends all shared similar social stigmas, shame and sense of helplessness. Through her growth as an adult Jessica recognizes how living with a deliberateness of being relational, empathic, authentic and loving breaks down social stigmas. Being vulnerable and sharing her own circumstances with other allows others to feel safe to share their situation. That is when life changes.
Vice President, Christopher Doering
Treasurer, Sherry Spring
Board Member - Non-Voting, Christina Doering
Christina grew up in a military family and has lived in the deep south, on the west coast, and made the stateline her home in the mid1980s. She holds a dual Beloit College degree in Language and Secondary Education. Christina has committed her career to public service, currently as a supervisor in a local government office.
Christina’s life has been touched in many ways by substance abuse and mental illness. As a child raised by an alcoholic father, she learned to be a peacekeeper. As a young adult watching her dear friend lose his battle with a huffing compulsion, she felt the hopelessness of being unable to influence that behavior. Along her path, she has stood by several friends and family members who have suffered from an array of mental health conditions. Christina participated in a course offered by NAMI to learn about the brain physiology and function of individuals afflicted by mental disorders and was profoundly affected by this revelatory instruction.
Christina’s compassion is rooted in her faith. She has served in a variety of roles in her church over the years, currently as a baptism coordinator.
Christina’s daughter and stepson each played a part in the evening that ended in Alex’s passing, neither with any anticipation of the events that would ultimately unfold. Both bear the burdens of regret and guilt, which will likely last their lifetimes. Christina’s commitment through Live R.E.A.L. is to dispel the stigmas surrounding mental health and addictions that silence sufferers in their struggles. These conversations must be transparent and candid to find a supportive path to wellness. Fear and shame are powerful forces, but we can disarm them. Love really does conquer all.