Name: Susie Krabacher
Hometown: A small rural town in Alabama
Resident: Aspen, CO
Education: School of hard knocks – and love!
Profession: Founder of the Mercy & Sharing Foundation – Created through: “One woman’s mission to save a country…One child at a time.”
Status: Married to Sherman & Howard attorney, Joseph (Joe) Krabacher
Family: The abandoned children of Haiti
Awards: “International Humanitarian Award” – 2000 – the National Association for the Advancement of Haitians in Washington D.C., “Humanitarian Rose Award” – 2004 – the People’s Princess Diana Charitable Foundation, Kensington Palace, London, World of Children Humanitarian Award” – 2006 – World of Children, “Gift of Life Award” – Rotary International, “Honorary Haitian Citizenship” – Government of Haiti, “Hall of Fame Award” – 2001 – Miami Children’s Hospital, “Citizen Cool Award” – Ben & Jerry’s Corporation, “National Achievement Award” – E-Town Radio, “World of Children Alumni Award” – 2013
Story by: Nancy Koontz
I stayed up all night reading Susie Krabacher’s book “Angels of a Lower Flight” because I just couldn’t put it down! The inspiring story of redemption and triumph over tragedy and evil just grabs your soul.
A relentless advocate for children, Susie Scott Krabacher, the founder of the Mercy & Sharing Foundation, a 20 year old international relief organization dedicated to providing a safe haven for abandoned, malnourished, and impoverished children in Haiti, is a dedicated and courageous humanitarian who has saved, nourished and educated hundreds of the poorest children on earth in the often violent country of Haiti.
Mrs. Krabacher, and the story of her mission, has been broadcast (and she has been interviewed) by the likes of well-known interviewers such as Oprah Winfrey, Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Greta VanSusteren, Deborah Norville and has appeared in publications like People Magazine, Marie Claire, Redbook Magazine, Stern Magazine, More Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Denver Post, the Canadian Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Miami Herald, the St. Petersburg Times, the New York Times – among others.
Living through a painful past as an abused child in Alabama, and then living a lavish, (but empty) life as a Playboy Centerfold residing in the Playboy Mansion, Susie was betrayed by her first husband, and found herself homeless, broken and penniless until she met her soul-mate and the love of her life, Joe Krabacher, an attorney in Aspen.
After a trip to Haiti in 1994, Susie knew her life would be forever changed as she saw how tragic and sorrowful the lives of the abandoned children in this impoverished, corrupt country (that still practices Voodoo as their main religion) are.
With God by her side, Susie Scott Krabacher made a promise to save as many abandoned children in Haiti as she could by continuing to go to Haiti and build orphanages, clinics and schools. At this time, Susie – known as “Mama Susie” to the kids – and her staff care for well over 5,000 unwanted children with disabilities, but now have so much hope and promise. Susie says: “We do our best to give them a happy, comfortable life. These are the kids who will grow up to be leaders, engineers, scientists and doctors and will re-build and change the entire structure of Haiti!”
Susie Krabacher, and her organization, Mercy & Sharing, is determined to continue to change the despair and devastation plaguing Haitian society and to keep healing the children and their families. The organization will go on installing fresh water wells, teach them to become independent through education, and house and care for those who have no other resources.
Susie Krabacher is a woman of true grit – and is heaven-bound for sure. She lives and loves courageously without fear because she knows she has a “purpose-driven life.” In fact the author of “The Purpose-Driven Life” – Rick Warren – made this comment in Susie’s book: “An amazing story of a life changed!”
The captivating, caring, and compassionate Susie Scott Krabacher has struck a chord with many; and we end by sharing with you a quote from her book: “For today my reward is in hope. I believe that generations can be transformed by love, that the possibility of no child ever suffering does exist, that absolute good will ultimately triumph over evil.”
Susie, I’ve heard people say “Haiti is hell on earth.” Tell us about your thoughts on this? For 80% of Haitians, living there, they would agree. Formal employment is rare. About 70% of Haitians do not have a permanent full time job. Many get day jobs or bit work.
What was the moment in your life when you knew you had to help the abandoned children of Haiti? I started this commitment in 1994. But I have to say I knew this was my life commitment more recently when I was in my early forties and resolved that this was going to be our family and wouldn’t be pretty or easy but it was going to be a big, wonderful family that Joe and I would recruit others to help us raise.
How do you manage to deal t with all of the ups and downs and triumphs and tragedies that go along with your mission? I have not mastered that. I never intend to. It makes me constantly reach out rather than become a reclusive sort of woman that I tend to be. So I write emails about the awful things that I can’t tell anyone for fear of repercussions from the Haiti side. Our employees have to live there and cannot be put….well that can be spoken of another time.
How does Mercy & Sharing compare (or how is it different from) to what other organizations are doing to help out in Haiti? Mercy & Sharing is very unique. The greater population of orphanages in Haiti must have a regular volume of healthy infant children in order to maintain wages and rent of the orphanage.
Most don’t take unhealthy infants due to high cost of 24 hour care and medicine and sometime surgical intervention.
How is Susan Scott Krabacher different today from the women she was 25 years ago? I really love deeply and don’t care as much about if I am popular or invited to dinner with the most Influential couples. I adore going out with the motley crew of elderly folks from the senior home in Carbondale. We have a real party at Wal-Mart and their stories are so encouraging to me when Mercy & Sharing seems to preset challenges to which I cannot fathom any solution. I get great ideas from these people.
What qualities do you look for in a friend? Honesty, privacy, intellectual conversation, need to enjoy a glass of wine.
Will Colorado always been your home? Yes, and Haiti. I could not do Haiti without Colorado. I need Colorado like I need my voice to speak.
Do you ever get discouraged and think: “I can’t do this anymore.”? Yep. I do. But so rarely. Maybe 10 times in 20 years. I’m going to be painfully honest. Half of the 10 times I wasn’t really ready to quit but I wanted to teach someone a lesson or get a reaction. I am so concerned that the Board of Directors and advisors understand Mercy & Sharing is one of the most important advocates in Haiti, for the kids who are extraordinary. No one wanted them because of the cost of an antibiotic or the cost of therapy to correct a crooked foot. These challenges made them so strong and determined!
What stands out as the best moment of your life? Joe and any moment that I get to see he adores me and doesn’t regret our commitment to raise hundreds of children without his DNA.
What inspired you to commit yourself to the kids in Haiti? My childhood was the training ground that developed a sincere heart for discarded human beings.
Who or what has been your “life raft” through your journey with Mercy & Sharing? I didn’t like reading the bible because I didn’t really understand it. But I loved to talk to God. I thoroughly believed with every fiber of my being that He was available to me personally every minute, every second of every day! Thank God! I knew about that promise! I ask Him for all sorts of things. I cry when it hurts so much. So often our little kids die. Oh! Lord. He knows how we all suffer and try to get on with the day to day and just don’t feel like going on.
Do you have some words of wisdom you would like to share with the young women of today? Yes! Read my book. And ask questions.
How do you differ from other organizations helping in Haiti? We donate 100% of every dollar to the programs and the bod covers all overhead costs. I work without compensation and am so blessed to be able to do so.
What are you looking forward to the most in the future? I want to see my kids in heaven and let them know “In this world, you were loved.” I can’t wait to feel their hugs and hear their stories.
(You can contact Susie through Mercy & Sharing at: 201 North Mill Street, Suite 201, Aspen, CO 81611, (877) 424-8454, www.haitichildren.com)
Don and your beloved Eugenia, Thank you for all that you’ve done for us since we met the two of you on the QE2…And wrote Olivia de Havilland from your stateroom using QE2 stationery! I’d love for my fiancee, Ruth Rebecca Jackson, to be able to meet you. She’s always dreamed of becoming an actress! You should hear her run through (spot on with perfect accents) the Monroe and Curtis lines in the beach scene from "Some Like It Hot!" God Bless You, Don! Love, Will and Rebecca
Have You Heard Issue #52
Hope you enjoyed one of the most magnificent Falls ever in Colorado. We are happy to be back with you our generous, community-involved readers. We have so much to fill you in on, so let’s get started! Remember to give with all your heart – and take time to laugh and celebrate life. May your holidays be warm and wonderful… As always, thank you for supporting Blacktie!
Keeping Up with our Have You Mets (and future HYM’s):
HYM Nashville recording artist Pete Martinez donated the song “THE HORSE,” which is the theme song for “Horse Sense,” a documentary premiering on Rocky Mountain PBS featuring the Colorado State University’s Equine Research Programs. The film tells the story of mankind’s relationship with the horse. And if that isn’t incredible enough, Pete was asked to write a song for the Greatest Generations Foundation called “WE THANK YOU” to honor and thank all the veterans of WWII, Vietnam, Korea, and newly arriving. Martinez wrote, recorded and has performed the song to applaud the advancements of the CSU Equine Institute, one of the world’s most prestigious equine teaching hospitals and research entities. Pete spent a month this last summer touring in Sweden, he’s been signed to return to Sweden next year as well as perform in Norway. For more information on Pete’s schedule go to www.petemartinezusa.com
Congratulations to HYM Andrew Hudson. It’s been 5 years since he started his Andrew Hudson’s Job List which has helped so many people find the job of their dreams!
HYM Brian Watson’s company, Northstar Commercial Partners, has been acquiring numerous office buildings and properties throughout Colorado. Congratulations Brian!
The Colorado economy is definitely on an upswing. HYM Jodi Brooks, a fourth-generation Denverite and longtime Channel 4 reporter, recently signed off at Denver CBS4. She’s leaving to become the regional sales director for a business-to-business insurance company. Jodi says she’ll miss her “TV family” at the station, who’ve seen her through marriage, two babies and more. But she will stay involved with the non-profit “Colorado Safe Haven for Newborns” with which she’s been associated for years, since reporting a story in Mobile, AL.
HYM Felicia Diamond unfortunately had to euthanize her precious horse Dan that she bought as her own from Urban Farms,
a Denver nonprofit in Stapleton that houses and cares for farm animals. Felicia volunteers her time to help out at the farm several times a week.
HYM Artist Ken Elliott new book “Manifesting 123” is selling like gang-busters! Ken Elliott is an artist and writer living in Castle Rock, Colorado. He’s been on a dual track for over 25 years as an accomplished artist and now as a writer and someone who has experienced and collected astonishing stories about how everyone can “script” their own lives. Ken shares his experiences and insights in the book.
HYM Diane Wengler hosted a private reception for Ambassador Christopher Hill, the Dean of the University of Denver’s “Josef Korbel School of International Studies” at her beautiful Colorado Springs home. Ambassador Hill will be a future Have You Met.
HYM Jane Withers long-awaited book: “Hub Cap Annie: The Incredible Life and Times of America’s Hub Cap Queen” is in writing and will be shipped from the printers this week. You can get a sneak preview with the listing on Amazon. Jane says: “As many of you know, my life and times has been a roller coaster and you have been part of my journey, and supporters through many of its valleys.
HYM Lisza Gulyas has gotten through several knee surgeries with flying colors, and is back to doing all the things she loves – like dancing and baking European pastries!
HYM Gayle Novak is chairing the Cancer League of Colorado’s May 2014 Hope Ball.
The Colorado Springs Gazette just hired Katie Carrol as their new Director of Communications and Public Relations. And Katie also announced her recent marriage to Michael Whitten.
HYM Mary and Kevin McNicholas, who have been helping to care for the needy in Denver with their constant generosity, were honored by Little Sisters of the Poor at this year’s “Diamonds and Denim” event. The McNicholas’ were also honored at their 2nd annual T. Kevin McNicholas Foundation Tribute event at the new McNichols Civic Center Building on October 25th. The foundation was founded to help build a better future for low income kids through family, hope and education.
Jeanne Portmann Saunders, the wife of one of our original Blacktie supporters, Dick Saunders, is now affiliated with UMB Banks as a senior financial planner in the Private Wealth management division.
Our very own Stacy Ohlsson stays true to her commitment to fighting Pancreatic Cancer which took the life of her mother (and co-founder of Blacktie), Georgia Imhoff, by working with several local Pancreatic Cancer organizations.
HYM Shery McDonald Galbreath was presented with the Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City award by the Denver Rescue Mission. And Shery was also recently honored at the Invisible Disabilities Association Gala with their “Volunteer Honors Award” in recognition of her lifelong passion for volunteering on behalf of those living with illness and disability.
Have You Mets: Wendy Aiello, David Alexander, Bradley Joseph & Dahlia Weinstein were all part of “The Team” behind the highly successful event “Urban Nights” that took place on August 23rd at Mile High Station. The event, which benefits Urban Peak, was Colorado’s largest outdoor fashion show, and Grammy nominated performer Deborah Cox provided the musical entertainment for the evening.
Weddings & Engagements:
Corrie Vela married Tor Ehler
Kelsey Gregg married Adam Seaman
Jennie Puzlo married Kent Haverkamp
Auna Jornayvaz married Andrew Wolf
Cyndy Everett married Tom Marsh
Christine Chang married Damon Gillette
Katie Carrol married Michael Whitten
HYM Leigh Sullivan is engaged to Travis Plakke.
Kim Phillips is engaged to Garman Stroh.
Former Blacktie-Colorado staff member Danielle Yuthas is engaged to Steve Paske.
Get Well Soon:
Bertha Haugen Sue Miller, Burt Levy, and Edna Chang Grant.
Condolences to the Families of:
Paul Ryan, Byron Stafford, Charles Pippitt, Tim & Paul Samaras, Alice Vickers, Arlene Bershof, Rob Mintz, Kevin Curran, Rosemary Berry, Dr. Lynn Sanders, and Dan Bell.
Out and About Have You Met Photos:
Colorado Charter Schools 20th Anniversary
Little Sisters of the Poor 95 years
American Cancer Society 100 years
Children’s Museum of Denver 40 years
Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI) 25 years
VOA’s Western Fantasy 20 years
Colorado Youth at Risk 20 years
Gold Crown Foundation Fieldhouse 10 years
Jewish Community Center’s Schwayder Ranch Camp 60 years
The Washington park “The Profile” Newspaper 35 years
Arc 45 years
CU Denver became an independent institution in 1973, which makes this year their 40th anniversary.
Make-A-Wish Colorado 30 years
National Urban League 100 years
50 years since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963
50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech
Sean and Audra McNicholas baby girl Aralilia “Lil”
And – this is the first grandchild for HYM Mary McNicholas and her husband Kevin.
Amy & Tony Cummins baby boy Tanner Patrick
Motivational speaker Andrea Constantine and her husband Rob Ransom baby boy Rawley
Gina and Jacon Grubb baby Henry
Mary Shay and Jeff Nafus baby girl Elizabeth Rose
Former Colorado Ballet dancer Janelle Cook and her husband Jason Hinkley baby boy Miles Dean
Tracie and Wade Sheppard baby girl Ellianna
HYM Christine Chang Gillette and husband Damon Gillette baby boy Rylan.
The Colorado Symphony Orchestra has named Susan Stoveall as its new Director of Marketing and Public Relations. Sarah Hom, the Symphony’s current marketing director, will move to a new role as Director of Sales and Patron Services, responsible for strengthening ticket sales strategies and broadening customer service functions. Stoveall is an award-winning marketing professional with 20 years of non-profit marketing experience. Most recently she served as director of marketing for the Mizel Museum in Denver.
Kate Hunt Van Daele is the new Executive Director of Sue Miller Day of Caring for Breast Cancer Awareness.
The new Vice President of Development at the Kempe Foundation is Paul Dunn and Ashley Davis comes aboard as their new director of special events and volunteers. New board members are: Art Aaron, Lauren Cannon Davis, Brad Farber, Kurtis Hooley, and Leigh McMahon.
The Denver Hospice and its Optio Health Services were named a “Circle of Life Winner” – a national award presented by the American Hospital Association. The Denver Hospice is the only Colorado hospice to win the Circle of Life Award in the award’s 14 year history.
Andrew Litton is the new Colorado Symphony Orchestra Music Director.
Patricia Peterson is the new President & CEO of the Colorado Cancer Research Program.
After bringing news into the homes of Coloradans for more than 30 years, 7NEWS anchor Bertha Lynn recently left the newsroom to become the new Executive Director of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation at Denver.
Future HYM Lloyd Lewis, President/CEO of Arc Thrift Stores, received the 2013 Community Service Award from The Arc of Adams County.
Sponsor a seat with an engraved name plaque in the Black Box Theatre or buy a brick in the Colorado Ballet’s new building. Contact Merry Logan at Merry.Logan@coloradoballet.org for more information.
The CELL’s (Counter-Terrorism Learning Lab) CAP (Community Awareness Program) just received the “2013 Outstanding Community Policing Award” through the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
CBS4 Anchor Britt Moreno is the new Adoption Exchange “Wednesday’s Child” reporter for the station’s weekly special “Wednesday’s Child” segment.
As a mom with a daughter who is battling breast cancer, this one is personal. A big thanks to the 1,100 people that joined in to fight breast cancer and to help Susan G. Komen celebrate the annual Denver Affiliate of Susan G. Komen at their gala, “A Pink Tie Affair” on November 9th. This gala brought together local community leaders, friends and family to support Komen Denver and its work to end breast cancer forever. This year, the event raised $400,000 to save lives in Colorado funding breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment. John DellaSalle, CEO of Denver-based companies Tennison Group and TG Staffing and former board president of Komen Denver received the 6th annual “Komen Denver Ambassador Award” which was presented to him at the gala. Have You Mets who are on the Honorary Council for the Susan G. Komen Denver Affliate are: Kim Christiansen, Jean Galloway, Arlene Johnson, Dottie Lamm, Frances Owens, and Jeannie Ritter.