Southwestern graduate Loretta Keck Goebel, whose life-threatening situation ended with the amputation of her legs, left hand and all the digits on her right hand except her thumb, will be the guest speaker at the Southwestern School Foundation for Educational Excellence dinner and auction on Saturday, March 9, 2013.  The event will be held at The Commons at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey at 6 p.m. 

Goebel, a 1981 graduate of Southwestern High School, bumped her right thumb while running to answer the door.  A common strep germ then invaded her system, with the end result being multiple amputations.  But Loretta’s strong spirit, determination and love of life did not let that stop her.  She simply found a “new normal” and got on with her life. Her devastating, yet uplifting personal story inspires everyone who has had a setback of any kind to get back to the business of living.

In commenting on Goebel’s experience, former Beatle Paul McCartney said, “Loretta has such a positive attitude.  I’m proud of how she handled all the obstacles she had to overcome and the way she reaches out to help others.”

Her work with others who have faced debilitating situations led supermodel Cindy Crawford to state, “Loretta reached out to my aunt, who was a recent amputee, and offered her the hope and encouragement she so desperately needed.  Anyone who is struggling with an amputation, or enduring any other major, life changing event, can learn from Loretta’s example that a positive attitude will move them forward to a new place of hope and healing.”

Goebel was living in the Chicago area at the time of the accident and was working as the convention services manager at a Hyatt Hotel.  She and her husband have two children.  Additional information on Goebel may be found at

During her years at Southwestern, Goebel was homecoming queen in 1980, and participated in marching band, color guard, the dance team, track, and served as a statistician for the girls volleyball team.  She graduated early in her senior year and was named to Who's Who of High School Students.

This is the 11th anniversary of the Southwestern Foundation’s dinner and auction.  The annual event has helped generate $181,250 in scholarships that have been awarded to 189 Southwestern graduates since 2001.  The Foundation has also awarded mini-grants totaling more than $32,000 to help enhance learning opportunities in the Southwestern District. 

Tickets to the event, which are $25, are available through any Foundation board member or by calling the Southwestern School District office at 729-3221.

Text @RB to 618-202-4618 to sign up for Text Alerts from RiverBender!

Print Version Submit a News Tip