Beyond the Byline: Don’t ever give up hope

Beyond the - Byline - Geri Gibbons

I heard a story the other day that inspired me and I just haven’t been able to shake it.

I was driving home from work late the other night and talking to my son Nate about our friend, who is now the program manager for a social services program.

I assumed that “Sara” had travelled in a straight line to her current career position: high school, college, her first job and then promotion.

But, it turns out Sara’s current success could be attributed to a Christmas card she received about five years ago.

She was 22 at the time, had been informed that she had “maxed out” her financial aid and wouldn’t be able to finish college, although she only had one year to go. She had no job, no hope and no car.

It was during that period of her life that Sara’s aunt and uncle re-entered her life, realizing a bit of help would be life changing for her.

When Sara opened that card – the check for the final amount she needed for her final year fell out.

In that moment, her life was changed. Someone had cared so deeply about her they were willing to reach out and change a bit of their world.

The story stopped me in my tracks because I’ve had those moments in my life that changed my world when people simply believed in me even more than I believed in myself — instructors, editors, friends, my children.

As I make my way through the community, getting to know people, it is the stories of overcoming obstacles that touch my heart the most — and make for good journalism.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview two business owners on Pittston’s Main Street: the Joyce brothers from Joyce Insurance and Harry Salavantis from Majestic Lunch.

Of course, both businesses utilize good business practices and have quality products, but the real stories were the parts of their stories difficult to tell — the loss of Michael Joyce for the Joyce family, and Harry Salavantis’ experience of being kidnapped as a youngster.

It was in the overcoming of these obstacles that these businesses laid deep foundation and strengthened their commitment to the community.

The next time you’re faced with what seems like an insurmountable obstacle, take heart, this might simply be a time of planting, with the harvest coming down the road.

Don’t give up.

Beyond the


Geri Gibbons

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at