Laurel Wirtanen-Siloy was born in poverty-stricken Honduras during the revolution. Escaping the country with the help of a nun, she flew to the U.S. as a child. She attended Holy Name, then attended Ashland College with a major in political science and journalism.

Her plans to go to law school changed after she got a job at the Berea Childrens Home, where she found her passion. She serves as "big sister" to two youths at the home.

She is married to Tom and has four dogs. She is a vegan who says she will eat fish when they grow out of the ground.