After explaining her medical background to the Red Cross volunteers, Carr told them she would love to give back in other ways.
“There were rumors that some of the people who were affected [by Hurricane Katrina] came to Glendale, so there was a need to try and find help for those victims,” she said of her initial work with the Red Cross. “So I put together a relief agency directory for them where I would find out which agencies would accept help and provide help.”
In a short period of time, Carr became devoted to the relief efforts of the Red Cross by providing help to many in the Glendale area. She became a member of the organization’s board of directors in 2009, and her enthusiastic attitude has benefited the program throughout the last few months, said Ron Farina, Glendale chapter executive for the Red Cross.
“She has excited the board about potential for us to expand our sales ... and marketing in the community,” he said. “As a volunteer, she has tried to connect the Red Cross with her contacts wherever they may be through all her walks of life.”
And her contacts are plentiful, she said, some dating back 40 years ago when Carr joined the L.A. County health care system as a nurse.
During her tenure, Carr worked in hospitals, out in the community and at both UCLA and USC medical centers.
She also served as the director of public health nursing from 1990 to 1994, where she said she is most proud of her role in providing aid to victims of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
After retirement, Carr didn’t leave her desire to help others behind. One of her favorite parts of being involved with the Red Cross is getting to work with youth groups.
Last December, Carr teamed up with Glendale High School students in Operation Christmas Child, an event in which volunteers prepared shoe boxes full of goodies for those less fortunate across the world.
Both the students and Carr learned a lot from their time together and grew very close, she said.
Throughout the preparation, Carr acted as a role model for the students, said Vanuhi Karapetian, a volunteer and recent graduate from Glendale High School.
“Susan is amazing,” Karapetian said. “She inspired me ... Through my actions, the rest of the youth group got involved, like a trickling effect.”
Carr is also a docent for the Natural History Museum and received a Volunteer of the Year award in 2005 for leading tours and teaching students at the museum.
As Carr says, her interest in community work remains strong, and she wants to try to stay involved any way she can.
“We’re all human and you want to do something that helps people,” she said. “But you also want to learn new things, and in the end you get back in ways you never would have expected.”