Long-time friends have a way of becoming family and Rod and Darla Priebe are certainly part of the Catholic Charities’ family.
The couple’s relationship with Catholic Charities’ goes back to the late 1970s and continues to this day.
When they were just a young couple, they decided to check into being foster parents. Over the years, they made many visits to St. Joseph’s Home for Children to pick up children who needed a safe place to stay. Some stayed with the Priebes for just a day or two, some were long-term.
“We had a lot of kids come and go over the years,” Darla explained. “We had love we wanted to offer.”
And love they offered indeed. Year after year, the couple would have up to two children at a time, in addition to their four forever children. They’ve lost count of how many called their house home—but they’ve memories of all of them. The children undoubtedly have memories, too. Many photos were taken and each child left the Priebe house with an album marking that time of their life.
“Our hearts just kept leading us to that. There were so many kids out there that needed that unconditional love, routine, to see what a normal family looked like,” Darla said. “ I strongly believed that each one of them took a little bit of that love with them and it was with them for some time.”
Their caring hearts so strong, the couple now cares for animals at their Corcoran home. They’ve got hens, pygmy goats, geese, ducks and dogs.
“If only we had the energy like we had when we were younger, we would do it all again. We gained far more than the kids ever took away from us,” Darla said. “Obviously we both love kids. Rod had his job and being a mother was my full-time job. They were our family. It didn’t matter that they were only here for a short time.”
These days, with their children all grown and grandchildren needing their attention, the Priebes no longer take in foster children. They now support those in need with financial contributions.
“We believe in the cause. This is where we are at right now, we can financially help,” she said. “There’s a whole lot of people out there who are just trying so hard. We can certainly give an opportunity to move forward.”