Welcome to our series, #WHYoming.
We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?
For this week’s #WHYoming, I had a chance to talk with Geannie Berg, Registered Behavior Technician at Peak Behavioral Services. In her job, she works with kids on the spectrum in the field fo Applied Behavior Analysis. Additionally, Geannie is an avid volunteer who helps out wherever she can. Geannie is a compassionate person and it shows in both her career and her volunteer work. She’s part of what makes Sweetwater County such a special place to live.
Living in Rock Springs isn’t just home, but she considers the community her family. Having lost her sister and both parents, having a community that she can not just call home but call her family is huge to her. Geannie moved to Rock Springs from Montana and she made it her home here. And now, she considers herself blessed to be able to live here in Sweetwater County.
Geannie, what do you do for a living?
I am an RBT (Registered Behavior Technician), so I work with kids on the spectrum in the field of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis). Basically, we try to figure out the function of a behavior under a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. We help the kids navigate through life. It is such a rewarding job to help parents and their kids get to their full potential. The best part is getting to be a small part of their success.
Why did you get involved in this line of work?
I have a lot of compassion for people, and I am driven to help wherever I can. I saw a need to help kids and felt led to do it. I love my job because it is never boring, and you do not know what to expect every day. Life is full of ups and downs for these kiddos. I get to be a part of both.
You also do a lot of volunteer work. Can you tell me about that?
I spend a lot of time volunteering.
One thing I noticed raising my kids is that there is a real need to help in the schools. Schools cannot do everything and really need parent support. I started off volunteering in the schools in 2005 at Walnut Elementary. The best part is all the kids see you as the fun police and it was a great way to meet new people. I became the PTO president and had the best support from other moms. Spending time with the other moms brought so much joy to my heart. We were all working hard to better the lives of not just our own kids but all the kids. Sometimes I sit back and I miss those days.
Cowboys Against Cancer (CAC) has been a passion of mine for 13 years. I have helped at least that long. I have not kept track on how long I have been a board member. I am the auction coordinator, so if you ever donated something to CAC, I have touched and loved each gift that has been given. I lost a sister at the age of 4 to cancer and I lost my grandma. I heard about CAC and immediately knew I wanted to be involved. To be able to help families through a difficult time in their life meant the world to me. I lived through it and so I know what it is like.
What CAC does is extraordinary. The grants we give to help families are vital to our community. The thank you letters that people write us make it all worth it. How could you not want to help?
I am also a coordinator for the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen. I am on rotation with other members of the community. Before I met my husband, I used to work at a man camp cooking for 100 men in Montana. I realized that cooking is a hobby of mine. Food brings others together, you can laugh together, pray together, and have heartache together. Working at the soup kitchen is not a job. It is life with others. Not everyone that comes is down on their luck. Some are widowers and this is place they can find good conversations with others. Whatever each circumstance is in each life, food brings them together. Mixing fellowship with food makes people leave the soup kitchen happy and loved.
I also volunteer at Rock Springs Christian church where I have been a member since 2004. I have been singing on the praise team for years. My karaoke list would be any Contemporary Christian music. I have so many favorites but right now one of favorites is “King of my Heart” by Steffany Gretzinger. I feel like everyone needs His love right now.
I also worked with the community on Stuff the Bus. I only helped one year, but what I did not realize is how much families need this. Times are hard for everyone and every kid deserves a backpack and supplies to start school with. We stand outside of Walmart and ask people to buy supplies for kids that need it. I had one man who was living on the streets come up to me and say, “I do not have much but please take my change and buy a glue stick.” Of course, I was crying. He gave all he had.
How did you end up in Rock Springs?
I met my husband in Montana when we both worked at Stillwater Mining Company. He was working as a contractor. I met him in the summer of 1998. He bought a house here in the early 90s and after two years of us working in Montana, we decided to come back to the house he bought. It was so hard to move here because neither one of us had any family here. But we were committed to making Rock Springs our home. We had our baby and were married in 2002. We had three girls together and my husband had a son before he met me. Our son is now 26 and has a Doctorate in Pharmacy. He is in the military and did a tour in Iraq. My second child has the Trustees Scholarship at UW and has been studying business at UW for the past three years. My middle child is graduating on Monday, and my youngest is a freshman at Black Butte High School.
What do you appreciate most about our community?
I appreciate how giving our community is. Two years ago, CAC raised $420,000. We always get food donated to loaves and fishes. Recently the Black Butte seniors could not do anything in the school to celebrate graduation. We put a plea out and we are now doing a BBQ for the seniors. Each senior is getting a gift basket with gift cards in them. Sonic is donating the burgers and people from community, that I do not even know, have reached out to me and donated. I think what I love the most about our community is we can disagree about any topic or circumstance, but when we see a need we are willing to help each other out. I believe that makes us family, which is huge to me, as I have lost a sister, my dad, and my mom. This community is my family. I am incredibly grateful and blessed to live here.
Where is your favorite place to hangout at in Sweetwater County?
Loaves and Fishes. I have been beyond blessed to work at the soup kitchen 10 years this year.
How would your friends describe you?
I would hope they would say that I try hard at helping others, that I cannot say no even when I should, that I am loyal to the cause, and that I am God fearing and absolutely love him. One thing I used say a lot is “never turn your back on an ugly face”.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
My three daughters, as they are incredibly supportive of me. They get volun-told to help and they never complain about it.
What is something unique about you?
I would have to say that I have compassion for people. Honestly I don’t know what makes me unique.
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
Do not look at people through your own eyes. Look at everyone like they do not have tomorrow. One of my favorite quotes is, “in the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” I have no idea who said this, but I love it.