Rebecca's Story

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Becca at the tidepools around Half Moon Bay, CA.
Rebecca being sworn in as a member of the Montana Army National Guard.
Graduation Day!  Years of hard work, tears, and triumph!
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Family trip to Clear Lake, CA during her high school years.
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Becca on one of her treks up to the "M" above the University of Montana campus.

Rebecca Grace Romero was killed walking home in the early hours of June 17, 2018 by a driver under the influence of drugs and alcohol  However, this story isn't about her death, but her life and how she inspired others.

Rebecca was born on July 11, 1995 in Stockton, California to Merced and Donna Romero.  Joining her big sister Selena, life would never be the same!

From the very beginning, Becca marched to the beat of her own drum.  Though she could be feisty, willful and sarcastic when pushed, she was more often shy and uncertain.  To those who were friends, or seen as thrown aside by the "in crowd", she was kind and generous..

Growing up, Becca often struggled with fitting in often avoiding the "norm" and looking for her own path which was never easy for her.  In her final years of high school, she had developed an interest in biology and and visited the campuses of Sonoma State and Humboldt State to find out more about their programs.  After graduating from A.A. Stagg High school in Stockton, she surprised many when she apply to and was accepted to the University of Montana (UM) in Missoula, MT.  

Becca's first two years at UM were hard.  A California girl that showed up in Montana with her Pride flag and stubbornness didn't have an easy transition.  She had a hard time putting herself forward and finding friends and had many low points which even led her to consider leaving Montana and returning home to California.

It wasn't until Rebecca started working at the Wright Zoological Museum at UM that she really began to find a path towards a career she was truly interested in.  She loved the museum, and through it, the ability to learn so much about wildlife in a hands-on way.  She also found herself excited to be so involved in the museum during the period of expansion it was going through.

 

The appreciation for the culture of this part of Montana was accelerated when she was able to participate in a program in its early years called the Hunter Mentorship Program.  Started by James Goerz in 2015, this program enables students that are interested in hunting seminars on Fair Chase and Hunter Sustainability and more for several weekends prior to the general elk hunting season.  Beginning opening weekend, they are then paired with an experienced mentors for hunting trips each weekend of the season.

Early in her life, Rebecca felt that many creatures lacked a voice to support them.  As Rebecca began to learn more about hunting and conservatorship at UM, she was able to combine these and became passionate about being able to help protect and conserve the wildlife of Montana.  While finishing up her Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Biology, Becca realized she wanted to become a Game Warden.

 

After missing out on qualifying for a Montana State Game Warden Intern position in 2017, Rebecca decided on an alternate and surprising route to become a Game Warden, the Montana National Guard.  On March 6, 2018, Rebecca was sworn in to the Army National Guard qualifying to train as a Military Police once she had completed basic training.  It was a proud and exciting day for both Becca and her family. 

After graduating on Mother's Day weekend in 2018 and having requested a late entry to the military, she spent the beginning of that summer working at the Phillip Wright Zoological Museum.  These days were spent helping to prep and further catalogue the hundreds of specimens for their move to new facilities that had just been completed for the museum to move into.  Her plans were to help complete the move after returning from Basic Training.  However, just 6 weeks from reporting to basic training, her life was taken.

Rebecca spent much of her life never realizing how much she had touched people's lives and how much she had made a difference. Without a doubt, she would be floored to see how many people she reached.

This feeling came from the many struggles she faced in her life.  Being shy and often anxious, she did not find it easy to make friends, especially in new situations. This ultimately led to her being filled with self-doubt and dealing with bouts of depression.   However, by her junior year in college she had become an established member of the UM Student Wildlife Society, the Student Chapter of the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (UM BHA) and continued her work with the Zoological Museum as well as participating in the local Society For Creative Anachronism group in centered in the Missoula area.  With this came opportunities to establish significant friendships, further some of the leadership skills she had, and begin to recognize Missoula and the surrounding mountains and rivers as being the home she could feel comfortable in. 

 

So many of the people that knew Rebecca in her later years as a student at UM didn't know these things about her.  Her hunting mentor James Goerz said he had no idea that the bright, vivacious young lady he knew had those struggles.  It reminded him of the need to pay more attention to the ones that aren't speaking up, or aren't putting themselves forward.  It is a reminder that the struggle to feel successful is hard, but worthy.  To never give up on our dreams, to find our happiness even when it all seems out of reach.

Life is a beautiful gift, and being a part of Rebecca's was our greatest blessing.  Having her live on and continue the work to help people understand and support her passion, has become our passion.  To that end, we have thrown our efforts into to two areas.  The first is the Rebecca Romero Endowment (which is discussed in a separate section of this website)  and the Rebecca Romero Hunting Legacy Scholarship which came about through a grant that the UM BHA Student Chapter was awarded early in 2018 and came to bear her name after her death later that year.  Each year the UM BHA selects four recipients out of the applications they receive with UM BHA funding one, the Goerz Family funding a second, and the Romero family funding two.  Each scholarship pays for combo hunting licenses for out of state undergraduate students like Rebecca that face prohibitive costs of over five-hundred dollars.

Please take some time to explore this website.  You will find our vision and mission that aims to keep us serving others in Rebecca's name.  It also offers information and links to programs already mentioned like the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and Hunter Mentorship Program.  It is also part of our mission to help educate both new and non-hunters alike in what it mean to be an ethical hunter and serve as part of the conservation cycle. Finally, we offer you a chance to learn about Rebecca and see the world she lived in through her eyes.  Many of the pictures you will see on this website are her own as she enjoyed photography.  See the bright soul we got to know, and enjoy viewing the world through her eyes.