The life of Amanda Berry is an amazing story of someone bravely turning tragedy into triumph. Berry was kidnapped in Cleveland, Ohio by Ariel Castro in 2003, right before her 17th birthday. She was taken after a job interview at a local Burger King.
Authorities originally thought she had run away until a few days later when Castro called her mother saying she'll be "coming home in a couple of days."
Those couple of days turned into 10 years.
In 2013, she bravely helped two other women and Berry's own six-year-old daughter escape. Her daughter was born in captivity.
Now, Berry has taken the pain she endured living in subhuman conditions and used it as inspiration to help rescue other kidnapping victims. In February 2017, she joined the Fox 8 Cleveland news team as an advocate for missing people.
Berry told Good Morning America that working to find missing individuals was a way for her to find her voice.
"In the beginning, I was so scared to do anything," she said. "I was really scared to leave the house and you know, being noticed. But now I just feel like I take it more as a blessing that I am on this side and that I am blessed enough to be able to help and I can finally use my voice for good."
Amanda Berry`s 3-year anniversary at FOX 8 www.youtube.com
Her segment "Missing with Amanda Berry" has helped save countless missing individuals. "It's invaluable, it really is. I don't know if she really realizes the impact she does. I can't tell you the amount of calls and tips I've got from your segments," Cleveland Police detective Kevin Callahan told Berry on her third anniversary with the station.
Recently, Berry partnered with U.S. Marshals to help rescue missing children through Operation Safety Net. Working with state and local partners, Amanda has helped rescue 57 missing and endangered children between the ages of 13 and 18 in the northern Ohio area.
The success of the effort led to the creation of a permanent squad in the area.
"One of the biggest reasons Operation Safety net was a success was Amanda Berry," U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio Pete Elliott told Good Morning America. "She is a great example for Cleveland, Ohio, where you fight and you never quit and that's what she does. We're doing this all over the country and we're gonna try to bring back every single kid that we can, together with Amanda Berry."
Berry credits her mother for her dedication to her work. Her mother was a tireless advocate for her while she was held captive; unfortunately, she died in 2006 and was never able to see her daughter return home safely.
"I push every day more and more for my mother. She fought so hard for me while I was gone, and I think now, I'm trying to finish kind of what she started for the missing," Berry said. "In the beginning, there was nobody to call, there wasn't someone there to help you print your missing posters of your child. So you know, a lot has changed since 2003 and I'm just glad that I can be here and continue my mom's work."
Berry's story is amazing, but far from being completely told. She's had so much success in such a short time helping rescue missing people that there's no telling how much of an impact she'll make on the lives of others going forward. But there's a beautiful thing we can be sure of at this point, through her dedication to finding others, she's been able to find herself. Which is miraculous given the trauma she's had to overcome to get to this place.
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