• By Dana Sparks

Helping Others Heal: Their fathers’ foundations

February 27, 2019

Susan and Tom Gus sitting on a porch with their dogsLong before they met, Susan and Tom Gus listened — and were shaped — by their fathers' advice.

For Susan, it was the importance of education. For Tom, it was the value of work. The lessons played key roles for both while their mothers dealt with chronic illnesses.

A Dairy Dream

Susan grew up in rural Wisconsin on a dairy farm and attended a one-room schoolhouse.

Understanding the value of education, Susan's dad insisted that she go to college to receive the education neither he nor Susan's mom had.

"Back then there weren't a lot of options, so he asked, 'Do you want to be a nurse, a secretary or a teacher?'" she says. After one year of classes in high school to prepare for a nursing career, Susan determined nursing wasn't for her.

Susan's family moved to Arizona in hopes that a drier climate would help alleviate her mom's arthritis symptoms. While there, she discovered a love of working with children, enrolled in college and became an elementary school teacher. "We were poor growing up, but I had everything I needed," Susan says. "In fact, I didn't know until I applied for college that we were in the poverty level." Read the rest of Susan and Tom's story.

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