CLEVELAND– Gina DeJesus gave us one of the most memorable moments in Cleveland television history: a thumbs up as she returned home after being held hostage for years.
The massive crowd was overwhelming to the young woman in May 2013, but with her family and law enforcement officials by her side, she made the triumphant gesture.
Her beautiful smile grows even bigger when she’s talks about the kindness she’s received over the past five years.
“In the beginning, everyone would come up to me, tell me they were helping my mom, they were looking for me, they would want hugs and pictures,” DeJesus said.
She enjoys sharing the book she wrote with Amanda Berry, “Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland,” with others. When she has trouble sleeping, DeJesus will wake up her family and they go to the store, where she signs copies.
Now, she is devoting a great deal of her time to work with the Northeast Ohio Amber Alert Committee. Newburgh Heights Police Chief John Majoy said DeJesus will be a part of a new program to help victims and family members.
“It’s incredible. She’s such an asset to the team,” Mayor said. “Anywhere in our eight-county area, we will send a victims advocate specialist along with Gina to meet with the family and provide them support services.”
The opportunity to help and bring comfort to those in need is exactly what Gina wants to do with her life.
“Just to give back and to help like they helped me when I came home,” DeJesus said.