Fox News’ Catherine Herridge was at the CIA’s headquarters with her family yesterday for the kick-off of the Combined Federal Campaign, a giving program for federal employees. Last year, despite the economy, the CIA raised $2 million for the charity, which Herridge says, “says a lot about the people who work at the CIA.”
The homeland security and justice correspondent, who spoke at yesterday’s event, has a compelling story of her own. Her son Peter was born in December 2006 with biliary atresia, a disease which causes the liver to destroy itself. Only one in 15,000 U.S. children a year are affected. Luckily, Herridge was a donor match and three-year old Peter is doing very well. FBDC caught up with Herridge…
How did you and your son’s experiences change your perspective on reporting on such a serious beat? I think there is a “fearlessness” to my reporting now that did not exist before. If I am going to be away from my family, I want the work to count. The national security beat is the most important story in 2009. After Peter’s surgery, there is no assignment and no situation that I would be afraid to tackle.
And how does it make you feel to be a part of CFC? We felt proud as a family to be included in this year’s campaign. My husband JD was there – he has just returned from a deployment in Afghanistan with the Air Force. Both are sons, Peter and Jamie, were there too. They were very excited about skipping school and meeting CIA Director Leon Panetta who was generous with his time.
With boys of his own, the Director seemed to know that a five year old and a three year old can be trouble. He didn’t blink an eye when Peter took off his socks and shoes and ran around barefoot. How many kids will ever have a chance to do that!
After I spoke, a number of CIA employees thanked me for coming, but I thanked them for including us.
Q&A continued after the jump…
What message do you hope to impart at the CIA today? The theme of this year’s Combined Federal Campaign is the compassion of the individual and the power of community. That sums up our family’s story. It took dozens of people to save our son 3 years ago – from the staff at the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh to the scientists whose work made the surgery possible – it is because of their work and money for research that we are a family of four today and not a family of three.
Every year our family gives to research because we know we are the beneficiaries of the gifts that came before us. It is what you do for others that brings you the greatest satisfaction in life – not what you do for yourself.