blue water woman--spring 2018--FINAL for yumpu

Blue Water Woman magazine is the premiere publication for women living, working and playing in the Blue Water Area of Michigan, also known as the Thumb of Michigan.

Blue Water Woman magazine is the premiere publication for women living, working and playing in the Blue Water Area of Michigan, also known as the Thumb of Michigan.


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karEN harris<br />

<strong>blue</strong> <strong>water</strong> <strong>woman</strong> of the year<br />

bluE waTEr wOmaN OF ThE yEar issuE<br />

FrEE<br />

sPriNg <strong>2018</strong>

I<br />

from the editor<br />

I have never been so proud of <strong>woman</strong>-kind as I am at this point in my adult life.<br />

It feels as if we are, indeed, finally finding our voices.<br />

Over the past two years, stories about women have carried the headlines. Not<br />

all of them are good and, in fact, some of them are sad and downright horrific.<br />

Stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace, the entire<br />

#metoo movement, the Time’s Up movement, the<br />

Dr. Larry Nassar trial at Michigan State University,<br />

and inequality in pay and gender discrimination in<br />

the workplace have all made the headlines on a daily<br />

basis over the past year, with a lot of those stories<br />

coming to light in just the past six months.<br />

It would be easy to sit here at my desk and feel<br />

discouraged. A female friend asked me the other day,<br />

“How far have we come, really, Patti, in the past 40<br />

years since the Women’s Liberation movement began<br />

in the 70s? It doesn’t feel like the needle has moved<br />

much…”<br />

The realist in me knows the needle hasn’t moved<br />

far enough over 40-plus years time, but both my<br />

friend and I agreed that it doesn’t do us any good to<br />

look back at what hasn’t happened.<br />

And, in fact, what IS happening right now is<br />

editor patti samar<br />

& Friend Pam Wall<br />

at the <strong>2018</strong><br />

women’s march<br />

in lansing<br />

exciting and inspirational as women begin talking<br />

out loud, in public, about things that were either<br />

never shared be<strong>for</strong>e or were only shared in quiet<br />

whispers.<br />

At long last, it seems, women are beginning to<br />

learn that it is time to speak up. It is time to talk about the realities of being<br />

female in the United States in <strong>2018</strong>. Some of our stories ARE horrific and sad,<br />

but many, many others are motivating and inspirational.<br />

And not only are our personal stories about our life experiences worth<br />

hearing, but women are intelligent and we have an awful lot to offer in the work<br />

environment, whether that is in a corporate board room or on the floor of a fast<br />

food restaurant.<br />

I encourage all women – most especially the young women reading this – to<br />

please, please, please speak up. Use your voice. And if someone interrupts and<br />

speaks over you, do not be afraid to speak up again and take back your time.<br />

Your voice is important and you deserve to be heard.<br />

The women featured in this, the seventh annual Blue Water Woman of the<br />

Year Awards issue, have all found their voices. They have all moved mountains to<br />

accomplish both personal and professional goals.<br />

All of them have carved a path through what can sometimes feel like granite so<br />

that the women who follow them have an easier path.<br />

What I admire about all of them is their tenacity and diligence. All have a “roll<br />

up your sleeves and work” attitude. All believe in teamwork and understand<br />

that “it takes a village” to build a successful company, educational institution,<br />

healthcare organization, city administration and fitness program.<br />

I am honored and humbled to share with you their stories in this issue of the<br />

magazine. I am inspired by the accomplishments of each and every one of them<br />

and I am sure you will be too.<br />

Peace,<br />


karen harris 5<br />

nancy winzer 6<br />

donna russell-kuhr 8<br />

deborah snyder 10<br />

susan smith 12<br />

advertise<br />

in Blue Water Woman!<br />

it works!<br />

just ask our advertisers!<br />

The ad deadline <strong>for</strong> the next issue<br />

of Blue Water Woman is May 1, <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

Prices start at just $125 <strong>for</strong> a business card sized ad!<br />

Our most popular ad size is a quarter page at just $250;<br />

sign a one-year contract and it becomes just $225 a quarter!<br />

For more in<strong>for</strong>mation, contact Patti Samar<br />

at 810-300-2176 or email her at pjsamar@aol.com<br />

volume 8, number 1 Spring <strong>2018</strong><br />

Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,<br />

511 La Salle Blvd., Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 5,000.<br />

Editor & Publisher:<br />

Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company<br />

Advertising, questions, comments or story ideas:<br />

Email Patti Samar at pjsamar@aol.com<br />

Mission:<br />

Blue Water Woman is the premiere publication<br />

<strong>for</strong> women living, working and playing<br />

in the Blue Water Area of Michigan.<br />

Its stories and features are written and designed<br />

to be inspriational, motivational and encouraging.<br />

www.BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

© Blue Water Woman is the property<br />

of Patti Samar of The Write Company<br />

The Write Company is a writing, graphic design<br />

and marketing consultation firm.<br />

View our online portfolio at:<br />

www.TheWriteCompany.net<br />

Patti Samar<br />

Editor & Publisher<br />

Blue Water Woman<br />

2 SPRING <strong>2018</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com

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Woman<br />

late last year, Blue Water Woman asked the community to nominate very special women who<br />

are deserving of recognition as we prepared to present the seventh annual <strong>blue</strong> <strong>water</strong> <strong>woman</strong> of<br />

the year awards.<br />

we then sent the nominations to a far away, cold and snowy place known as the upper<br />

Peninsula, where a very distinguished panel of women sequestered themselves <strong>for</strong> an evening and<br />

emerged with five very deserving award recipients.<br />

indeed, we are very <strong>for</strong>tunate in the <strong>blue</strong> <strong>water</strong> area to be surrounded by so many thoughtful,<br />

smart and compassionate women.<br />

so in this issue, Blue Water Woman is pleased to honor five of the very best:<br />

karen harris<br />

<strong>blue</strong> <strong>water</strong> <strong>woman</strong> of the year<br />

Nancy winzer<br />

<strong>blue</strong> <strong>water</strong> <strong>woman</strong> Civic leader of the year<br />

donna russell-kuhr<br />

<strong>blue</strong> <strong>water</strong> <strong>woman</strong> manufacturing Executive of the year<br />

dr. deborah snyder<br />

<strong>blue</strong> <strong>water</strong> <strong>woman</strong> Educator of the year<br />

susan smith<br />

<strong>blue</strong> <strong>water</strong> <strong>woman</strong> Physical Fitness advocate of the year

full package<br />

president<br />

karen harris<br />

by Patti Samar<br />

Karen Harris likes taking care of people.<br />

Her desire to help others eventually led her to nursing school and that<br />

led to a career as a healthcare administrator where, over the years, she has<br />

been responsible <strong>for</strong> hundreds of staff members and multi-million dollar<br />

budgets.<br />

Harris, the president and chief executive officer at Visiting Nurse<br />

Association and Blue Water Hospice of Port Huron, said that all of her<br />

career successes can be attributed to the core of what still drives her: her<br />

desire to take care of people.<br />

Harris’s ability to drive organizational and cultural change at VNA/<br />

BWH while increasing patient census, consistently maintaining one of the<br />

highest home health care quality of patient care scores in the community<br />

and working with staff to dramatically improve the overall financial<br />

per<strong>for</strong>mance of the nonprofit she oversees all contributed to Harris being<br />

named the Blue Water Woman of the Year. She was nominated by Karen<br />

Dech, the vice president of finance and chief financial officer at VNA/<br />

BWH.<br />

“I watched as Karen assessed the operational needs of the organization<br />

and she implemented good, common sense practices that addressed both<br />

the needs of the patients and the staff,” Dech said in her nomination.<br />

“Within months, very significant recognition came to the organization<br />

when the Centers <strong>for</strong> Medicare and Medicaid Services rated the VNA/<br />

BWH home health care quality of care among the top three percent in<br />

the nation. At that time, VNA/BWH was one of only 10 home health care<br />

agencies in the state of Michigan to receive a five-star rating <strong>for</strong> quality of<br />

care. We were the only agency in our county to receive this designation.”<br />

Harris, who married her high school sweetheart at age 19, worked in<br />

a factory until she began having children and became at stay-at-home<br />

mom. At age 28, she decided to attend St. Clair County Community<br />

College and eventually graduated from the nursing program there. She<br />

went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and<br />

a master’s degree from Central Michigan University.<br />

In her nomination, Dech said: “VNA/BWH had been under the<br />

direction of three different CEOs within a five year period. While each<br />

of those individuals brought a skill set of strengths, the VNA/BWH<br />

board received the ‘full package’ when it hired Karen to become the CEO.<br />

Her previous experience working her way up from a registered nurse to<br />

becoming the vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer at St.<br />

Joseph Mercy Hospital provided Karen with the experience and depth of<br />

knowledge of the administration of a healthcare organization to do the<br />

job in an above and beyond capacity.”<br />

One of Harris’s strengths as a CEO is her ability to see the “big picture,”<br />

according to Dech, and Harris concurs that she enjoys that part of her<br />

job.<br />

“I do ‘get’ how it all connects,” Harris said of organizational structure.<br />

“The planning, the strategy and the people and how it all comes together.<br />

I believe a strategic plan is a living document. We review it and we live it.<br />

“You have to give equal attention to all aspects of the business,” she said.<br />

“The finances, the patients, the quality of care, the patient satisfaction and<br />

the staffing. I think I have a knack <strong>for</strong> building a great team.”<br />

In her nomination, Dech made special note of one of the organization’s<br />

biggest achievements under Harris’s leadership: paying off a multi-million<br />

dollar debt years ahead of schedule.<br />

“She inherited a multi-million dollar debt of mortgage on the Blue<br />

Water Hospice Home and, by working closely with staff, put together an<br />

action plan to completely retire the debt on the building within two years.<br />

That goal will be achieved in <strong>2018</strong>.”<br />

Harris said she still sees her day-to-day work as a <strong>for</strong>m of caring <strong>for</strong><br />

others. “I get personal gratification from it, so I’m really feeding myself<br />

when I’m caring <strong>for</strong> others. With staff, I think I’m good at rallying around<br />

people and letting them find their strengths and letting them focus on<br />

them,” she said. “It’s about finding a way to make our workplace work <strong>for</strong><br />

the staff. When you allow them to blossom, the morale is really good then.<br />

“People go above and beyond if you trust them and believe in them.”<br />

SPRING <strong>2018</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 5

uilding<br />

a winning team<br />

by dale hemmila<br />

nancy winzer<br />

6 SPRING <strong>2018</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

Nancy Winzer believes in team work.<br />

If every winning team has an exceptional coach, Winzer could very<br />

well earn the title “Coach of the Year.” The director of parks and<br />

recreation <strong>for</strong> the City of Port Huron, Winzer is passionate about<br />

the city and those who recreate there. Her creativity, dedication,<br />

commitment, hard work and ability to rally the troops and pull off<br />

numerous community-wide events have led to innovative and creative<br />

recreation and entertainment opportunities <strong>for</strong> people of all ages in St.<br />

Clair County.<br />

Recognizing her diligence and success, Winzer has been named Blue<br />

Water Woman Civic Leader of the Year. She was nominated by Port<br />

Huron Mayor Pauline Repp.<br />

Winzer began working <strong>for</strong> the city in 1993 and became director of her<br />

department five years ago. She currently oversees 26 parks, 15 other<br />

facilities and a work<strong>for</strong>ce of 30 employees. In addition to supervising<br />

venues and people, Winzer has also directed a process that has landed<br />

more than $1.3 million in grant funds to improve city facilities to better<br />

serve community members who use them every day.<br />

“I just want to make Port Huron the best that it can be,” she said.<br />

“I want people to live, work and play where there are good recreational<br />

opportunities.”<br />

And her passion <strong>for</strong> the job and the city is apparent to those who she<br />

encounters in her position.<br />

“The word ‘NO’ is rarely, if ever, in Nancy’s vocabulary,” Repp wrote<br />

in her nomination. “If there is a way to improve something or add<br />

greater benefit to someone’s experience, she will find a way.”<br />

While Winzer is passionate about her job -- “I love what I do, I love<br />

coming to work every day” -- she is also passionate about those she<br />

works with.<br />

“I wouldn’t be where I am without the people who work <strong>for</strong> me,” she<br />

said. “They are very talented and work a lot of hours. We have a good<br />

city council and a good city manager. Everyone is trying to make Port<br />

Huron a better place to live.”<br />

In her role as department head, Winzer oversees both the parks<br />

and recreation department in addition to the cemeteries and <strong>for</strong>estry<br />

departments. In 2016, Winzer was handed the management of<br />

McMorran Place after the city ended a contract with an outside<br />

management company.<br />

Mayor Repp noted in her nomination that energy has returned to<br />

McMorran Place under Winzer’s leadership. “McMorran has received<br />

multiple cosmetic upgrades including new carpeting, epoxy flooring,<br />

drywall paint and a new bar <strong>for</strong> spectators to enjoy during Port Huron<br />

Prowler games,” she said. “Nancy and her team have worked tirelessly to<br />

bring more concerts, shows and family-friendly activities to the facility.”<br />

While initially a little nervous at taking on the McMorran<br />

management, Winzer said it has become a good fit <strong>for</strong> her department.<br />

“It’s an amazing recreational facility,” she said, “and we are blessed to<br />

have it. It’s where it should be in the parks and recreation department<br />

and the talented staff at McMorran is amazing and a nice addition to<br />

parks and recreation. When I go downtown and see people coming<br />

to McMorran, it gives me goosebumps. There are always people at<br />

McMorran and it’s going to keep getting better as the downtown keeps<br />

getting better.”<br />

Watching Port Huron get “better and better” is all part of the payoff<br />

<strong>for</strong> Winzer.<br />

“The next five years is about making unique recreational<br />

opportunities to get people and kids and families outside to recreate,”<br />

she said. “The pay <strong>for</strong> me is to go to an event and see people having a<br />

good time, or go to a park and see kids enjoying themselves—that’s the<br />

pay <strong>for</strong> me.”

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SPRING <strong>2018</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 7

visionary<br />

leader<br />

by dale hemmila<br />

donna russell-kuhr<br />

8 SPRING <strong>2018</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

Enthusiasm. Excitement. Exuberance. Energy.<br />

Donna Russell-Kuhr has them all.<br />

Whether she is talking about her role as president and CEO of PTM<br />

Corporation in Ira Township, or she is extolling the value of living in St.<br />

Clair County and her plans to improve employment opportunities in<br />

the region as the new president of the Economic Development Alliance<br />

(EDA) of St. Clair County, Russell-Kuhr’s cup runneth over when talking<br />

about all of the positive possibilities she sees in the future in the Blue<br />

Water Area.<br />

It is due to her business success and vision that she has been named<br />

Blue Water Woman Manufacturing Executive of the Year. Russell-Kuhr<br />

was nominated by Marysville City Manager Randy Fernandez.<br />

PTM Corporation, which is owned by Russell-Kuhr and her three<br />

sisters, bills itself as an engineering, prototype, production and assembly<br />

facility in Ira Township. Their slogan—Making Magic with Metal since<br />

1972—is an indication of what they do and how long they have been<br />

doing it. The company, founded by Russell-Kuhr’s father in his garage,<br />

has gone from manufacturing fasteners, metal clips and stampings to<br />

design, prototype and development <strong>for</strong> companies with household names.<br />

A tour of the PTM facilities will find work in progress <strong>for</strong> customers as<br />

diverse as Electrolux and NASCAR to nearly every automaker in the<br />

United States.<br />

Now, from that simple garage beginning, Russell-Kuhr oversees an<br />

operation with a 74-acre footprint encompassing 300,000 square feet of<br />

production facilities that employs 300 people. While she happens to be<br />

where the buck stops, Russell-Kuhr is quick to spread the credit <strong>for</strong> their<br />

success.<br />

“It’s not about me,” she said in reviewing PTM’s accomplishments. “I<br />

have a knack <strong>for</strong> identifying talent and the talent in this organization has<br />

made this company grow. We have a really good team right now and they<br />

make me look good, the people in the plant are doing their job above and<br />

beyond.”<br />

She ought to know what makes a plant run. Russell-Kuhr grew up in<br />

the business. From being the first floor sweeper at age 10, and making<br />

deliveries by age 15, she learned the business from her father Charlie.<br />

“I worked by my dad’s side every day <strong>for</strong> 30 some-odd years,” she said.<br />

“I loved coming to work with my daddy. It’s an addiction. I’m a metal<br />

manufacturer, it’s in my blood.”<br />

Russell-Kuhr transitioned into her father’s role in 2015, when he semiretired.<br />

Though he passed away in 2016, it is clear that the Russell family<br />

heart beats strong in PTM. Many family members are also employed<br />

there.<br />

Says Russell-Kuhr: “It’s very important to provide opportunity, but<br />

they have to do the job.”<br />

And providing opportunity is what she is looking to do as she begins<br />

her term as president of the EDA. She has set two main goals <strong>for</strong> her<br />

tenure: One, grow the EDA membership, and two, provide education<br />

opportunities in the skilled trades.<br />

While goal number two is an obvious fit <strong>for</strong> her business, Russell Kuhr’s<br />

vision goes beyond the parochial.<br />

“I want to provide some sort of solution <strong>for</strong> St. Clair County businesses<br />

and people,” she said.<br />

Providing skilled trade employment opportunities by increasing<br />

education in the trades is “good <strong>for</strong> a variety of businesses and can provide<br />

good paying jobs <strong>for</strong> people who are unemployed or underemployed.”<br />

In addition to her success at work, Russell-Kuhr also believes in giving<br />

back to the community. She is involved in numerous philanthropic<br />

endeavors and has served on boards and committees throughout the<br />

community.<br />

So while continuing to add value at her own business, Russell-Kuhr<br />

also looks to find ways to benefit others outside of metal manufacturing.<br />

Success in those areas will provide value to all of St. Clair County and<br />

those undertakings are certain to receive a good dose of Russel-Kuhr’s<br />

enthusiasm, excitement, exuberance and energy.

SPRING <strong>2018</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 9

achieving<br />

goals<br />

dr. deborah snyder<br />

10 SPRING <strong>2018</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

by patti samar<br />

When Dr. Deborah Snyder was just six years old, she stood in front of<br />

childhood friends and used a miniature chalkboard to teach lessons.<br />

As an adult, she finally fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming an<br />

educator by following a less-than-linear path that eventually led to her first<br />

official classrooms as a collegiate adjunct instructor on weekends while<br />

holding down a “day job” in another industry during the week.<br />

Now the president of St. Clair County Community College, Snyder – a<br />

native of St. Clair County – leads the institution where she first attended<br />

college. During her two years in the president’s office at SC4, she has been<br />

very efficient, having tackled a number of difficult projects that would<br />

have been a challenge <strong>for</strong> even a much more tenured administrator at any<br />

institution.<br />

It is because of her strong leadership skills and her dedication to helping<br />

students achieve their educational goals that Snyder has been named Blue<br />

Water Woman Educator of the Year. She was nominated by Pete Lacey,<br />

vice president of student services and communications at SC4.<br />

“Under her direction, the college has implemented a variety of successful<br />

initiatives and has completed several significant projects,” said Lacey in his<br />

nomination. “Her visionary leadership has helped trans<strong>for</strong>m our campus<br />

and it has improved our community.”<br />

Snyder understands the importance and impact a community college<br />

makes on a student’s life because she once was that student at SC4. “I was<br />

just trying to hold down a full time job at the telephone company and<br />

go to school at night,” she said. “I came here and I had some of the best<br />

teachers. Janet Kelly, who was a sociology teacher here, was the first person<br />

who said to me, ‘Have you thought about getting a Ph.d?’<br />

“She was the most important person in my SC4 life. She inspired me. It<br />

was a time when girls were secretaries, telephone operators and cashiers.<br />

Most women did not go on to get their doctorate.”<br />

Be<strong>for</strong>e all was said and done, Snyder had gone on to earn a bachelor’s<br />

degree, a master’s degree and a doctorate.<br />

Prior to becoming president at SC4, Snyder served in a variety of<br />

administrative capacities on several different college campuses. She last<br />

served as president and chief academic officer at Cogswell College in<br />

northern Cali<strong>for</strong>nia.<br />

A pioneer in producing online classes <strong>for</strong> colleges – she taught herself<br />

HTML and put together the very first online class taught by Walsh<br />

College – she went on to do consulting work <strong>for</strong> colleges across the country,<br />

teaching them how to build successful online courses.<br />

An author of two published books – one that came about as a result of<br />

her early com<strong>for</strong>t level with the internet, e-Marketing Basics – she is about<br />

to publish her third book, Old School, New School, No School, about the<br />

value of higher education.<br />

Snyder is proud of the work she has done during her short time at SC4.<br />

“When I arrived, getting the faculty contract settled and getting everyone<br />

back to work and doing what they do best was in the best interest of<br />

everyone,” she said. “The faculty deliver our service. I value the job the<br />

faculty does on our campus.”<br />

Under Snyder’s leadership, the college has also received a 10-year<br />

accreditation – the highest possible recognition – from the Higher Learning<br />

Commission. A number of major construction and renovation projects<br />

have also been undertaken during Snyder’s tenure:<br />

--The renovation and trans<strong>for</strong>mation of the old McMorran Pavilion into<br />

the new SC4 Fieldhouse.<br />

--The college recently received approval of funding to move <strong>for</strong>ward<br />

with the renovation of the A.J. Theisen building. Once the renovation is<br />

complete, the building will be home to expanded health science programs.<br />

--Through collaboration with the Community Foundation of St. Clair<br />

County, SC4 is constructing new student housing.<br />

Snyder notes that she has not done her job alone.<br />

“People here are open to good ideas,” she said. “The community is open<br />

to partnerships. People are cheerleaders here because they want what is<br />

best <strong>for</strong> the community.”

SPRING <strong>2018</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 11

community<br />

fitness<br />

by dale hemmila<br />

SUSan Smith<br />

12 SPRING <strong>2018</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

To say Susan Smith of Port Huron is active would probably do a<br />

disservice to the word active. Smith plays tennis. She golfs. She paints.<br />

She is a birder and member of the Blue Water Audubon Society. She<br />

belongs to the Alter Guild at Grace Episcopal Church where she is a<br />

member of the Vestry. She is president of the Port Huron Garden Club,<br />

and, to top it all off, she enjoys her family of three children and six<br />

grandchildren and still finds time to go dancing with her husband Art.<br />

But Smith’s passion and a focal point of her life is the work she does<br />

as an exercise instructor <strong>for</strong> two classes of senior citizens three days<br />

a week at the YMCA of the Blue Water Area. Her dedication and<br />

commitment to endorsing and serving as a living example of a healthy,<br />

active lifestyle has earned her the title of Blue Water Woman Physical<br />

Fitness Advocate of the Year.<br />

Smith, who was nominated <strong>for</strong> this award by her husband, would<br />

have qualified <strong>for</strong> such an award at any time over the past 30-plus<br />

years. She began leading senior exercise classes in the Blue Water Area<br />

in 1986 after she became a certified instructor <strong>for</strong> a program called<br />

Body Recall. She has been helping seniors remain active ever since.<br />

“You realize the benefit <strong>for</strong> other people,” she said while explaining<br />

the program, “especially <strong>for</strong> those who haven’t exercised <strong>for</strong> a while and<br />

all of a sudden they are feeling better.”<br />

Smith teaches a total of 85 students at the YMCA on Mondays,<br />

Wednesdays and Fridays. The 45-minute workouts cover a variety of<br />

physical activity, including range of motion, balance coordination,<br />

aerobics and weights.<br />

“We try to do a full body workup,” she said.<br />

But it’s not just the body she tries to keep active. Cognitive activities<br />

and other elements of the class are designed to help keep participants<br />

mentally sharp. The classes are also an opportunity <strong>for</strong> the senior class<br />

participants to engage socially, as well. The combination of knowing<br />

she is helping seniors feel better physically, mentally and emotionally<br />

provides a great deal of satisfaction <strong>for</strong> Smith at the end of the day.<br />

“When students leave, they are usually happy and feel so much<br />

better being active rather than just keeping to their homes,” Smith<br />

said. “It’s good to be out doing things and staying independent <strong>for</strong> as<br />

long as possible.”<br />

While most of the classes are focused on senior citizens, occasionally<br />

she has younger folks who may need to begin an exercise program<br />

or are going through a rehab regimen. But most of her students are<br />

seniors and many have been with her <strong>for</strong> years.<br />

“I have people that have been in the program <strong>for</strong> 25 years,” she<br />

said. “I usually say this is one of your doctor’s appointments and you<br />

wouldn’t want to miss your doctor’s appointment.”<br />

Meanwhile Smith has led and promoted a healthy, active lifestyle<br />

throughout her life. She was physically active in high school and<br />

later began running competitively. She completed marathons in New<br />

York and Hawaii. In 2017, the entire Smith family—all 14 of them,<br />

including Susan, who had pulled some ligaments in her foot—played<br />

in the Francis J. Robinson Memorial International Tennis Tournament<br />

to honor her husband Art’s 60th year of competing in it.<br />

At 75 years young, Smith said she plans to remain active as a physical<br />

fitness instructor <strong>for</strong> as long as possible, acknowledging that it is just as<br />

good <strong>for</strong> her as <strong>for</strong> those she leads.<br />

“I probably need it more now than when I started,” she laughed.

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sPriNg <strong>2018</strong> bluEwaTErwOmaN.COm 13

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1221 Pine Grove Avenue, Port Huron, MI 48060 | (810) 987-5000 | mclaren.org/porthuron

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