• The 2006 Weblog Awards



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Stephanie Dietrich…an Every Day Hero in My Book

…I wouldn’t call this an "obsession."  I’d call it a personal sacrifice.  A gift for a mother grieving for her missing children.

AKRON, Ohio — The Ohio woman who found the bodies of two missing New Hampshire children said Monday she had been searching with her dog for months on a personal mission that her friends and family considered an obsession.

Stephanie Dietrich, a grocery store cashier, said she was motivated to look for Sarah Gehring, 14, and her brother Philip, 11, by their mother’s public plea for help.

Most of us pale in comparison to Stephanie Dietrich.  We read the news each day, or hear it on TV or the radio, and think "how awful that someone has to worry about where her children’s bodies are."  This amazing woman, Stephanie Dietrich, didn’t just listen - she took action.

Dietrich, 44, said she went out searching with her dog more than 40 times since July near her Akron home because of clues suggesting the gravesite could be in the region. Investigators had concluded in 2004 that pollen found on dirt on Gehring’s minivan and shovel suggested that the soil most likely came from northeastern Ohio. 

How often have you inserted yourself in a mission such as this?  Me?  Never.  I would venture that most of you have not. I look to Dietrich as an everyday hero.  A person who sacrifices in order to assist others.  Because of her persistance, a mother can move forward.  She knew her worst fears were true, but can now lay her children to rest because of one brave and persistent soul.

Dietrich said she kept a 2-inch-thick folder of news articles and tips from the Internet and often woke up in the middle of the night to read it.

"It was like a personal challenge. Not like it was a game. I knew it was serious," she said. "My family members and friends were like ready to have an intervention because I was obsessed with it."

No intervention needed, Ms. Dietrich.  Because of you, a mother was reunited with her lost children and she can give them a proper burial and gain some closure on her loss.  You are a hero in my book.