Relational, Empathetic, Authentic and Loving

The People of LRF

Founder and Executive Director, Bev Pomering

Bev Pomering is a lifelong resident of the IL/WI stateline area. She married Terry Pomering over 25 years ago. Together they raised two boys in Roscoe, Illinois. The Pomerings lost their first born son, Alex in August 2019 at age 20 from a fentanyl overdose while doing heroin.

Alex had increased his drug use over the years starting with marijuana and alcohol use at 13 years old. By the time Alex turned 20 he was also using prescription pills, cocaine and heroin. Bev & Terry have been told that Alex had kept the increase of drug use into cocaine and heroin from them because he was ashamed. Alex had tried to stop using these drugs but without his family knowing he had even less of a chance to fight the addiction. This is where the passion behind Live R.E.A.L. was born. Bev hopes that providing education, awareness, resources and support to those who are struggling that she will make a difference in the world. "Imagine how your life would be different if you and those in your circle lived life authentically. Society will change if each of us strive to build relationships with people by sharing your life experiences and willingly walk beside them in difficult times without judgement. Love is contagious!" ~ Bev Pomering

President, Jessica Zimbelman

Jessica Zimbelman is a native to Northern Illinois. She is married to Jeffery Zimbelman. Together they raised two daughters. Jessica has practiced her profession of Human Resources for over 20 years. She has graduated with Bachelor of Science in HR Management and earned her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Administration. Her passion for HR is recruitment and project management. Her passion for life is engaging people in a meaningful manner; recognizing that each and every person has a purpose and value.
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

Most people call him Chris, unless he is in trouble with his mom, even today.
Chris is a husband, father/stepfather, son, brother, uncle, and his personal favorite, Grandpa. He is a Christian and a Jesus follower. Chris is not perfect and doesn’t pretend to be. He is a broken person and relies on the grace of god. Chris is a church elder to help guide the spiritual direction of our congregation.
Chris has a personal and emotional interest in Live R.E.A.L. . Alex’s story is very powerful for him. Alex was Chris' son’s best friend and the kindest and most polite of his friends. When Chris' family had celebrations, their kids were always allowed a guest, and Alex was always his son’s “plus one.” Alex passed away in his son’s house. Chris was devastated and shocked when his son called him with the news. Chris would more likely have expected the opposite call. A lot changed that day.
Chris' life experience has taught him the pain and anguish of addiction and the roller coaster ride of mental health issues. His goal in serving on the board of Live R. E.A.L. is to bring awareness that there is hope and that many others struggle similarly. The systems in place are insufficient and fail us regularly. We need to be R.E.A.L..

Treasurer, Sherry Spring

Sherry is a passionate woman who has lived in the Oregon/Byron, IL area her entire life. She is married to Bryan and has two grown children. Sherry spends her days as an Accountant and her nights chasing a dog or two through her farmette. Her hobbies include growing Lillium and other flowers, Bengal cat rescue,
 and hot rod cars.
Sherry has a passion for making memorable moments with friends and family. A deep friendship was created almost instantly when Bev & Sherry met where Shery and Terry worked together. The Spring's two boys were grade school and preschool age when Alex was born.The Springs and Pomerings shared family milestones with each other as the years went on. Many great memories of bon fires, card playing and lots of laughter were made throughout the years.
When Alex passed away Sherry was heartbroken and another passion for her was born. Sherry has both family and friends that battle mental illness and substance abuse. She found herself wanting to get involved in bringing change to the way people see themselves and others. Stopping the stigma that surrounds mental illness would create a culture that is open to help each other heal rather than tear each other down. If we see others as ourself then we can bring empathy to the relationship and walk beside them as they travel through dark times.
Sherry brings great skills and passion to the Board and her presence goes well beyond the dollars and cents of Live R.E.A.L..

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.  

Can you see yourself here? We can.
Go to the subsection "JOIN THE TEAM" to fill out an application today.

Board Member (2- voting)
Live R.E.A.L. Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 organization. EIN: 86-1778433