Susan Newell moved to Detroit four decades ago as a VISTA volunteer in the Cass-Trumbull community. This service experience was transformative, setting the
stage for a robust 37-year nursing career spanning emergency nursing, home care, health education, hospice, and clinical research. Before her retirement in 2014, Susan attained a bachelor’s degree in social work and master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan, along with an associate’s degree in nursing from Highland Park Community College.
As a committed volunteer, Susan served on the MorningSide board as secretary in 2008 and 2009, and again, as treasurer in 2012. In 2009, she organized the
Mural Project, in which a group of MorningSide residents painted murals on boarded up doors and windows of vacant houses. She also started the Three Mile Block Club in 2011, which has focused on fighting blight through neighborhood cleanups, keeping vacant lots mowed, holding annual block parties, and creating an art park at Three Mile and Munich with art installations made by neighborhood youth. As a MECCA board member, she hopes to continue revitalizing her community through work on the Youth Committee.
To Susan, the best thing about MorningSide is the tenacity of residents who refuse to give up on their community. She appreciates the work of "everyday angels" who, as unsung heroes, pick up litter wherever they see it, maintain vacant lawns around them, mentor and feed children on their block, and help out their neighbors. Their tireless service to others is a labor of love, which inspires her and keeps her going. Susan and her husband, Jim West, have lived in MorningSide for almost 32 years.
She has one daughter, Mariel, who lives in Denver with her husband and 20-month old son. As a retiree, when Susan is not working on community projects, she enjoys reading historical novels, non-fiction, and poetry; water aerobics; traveling; cooking; and hanging out at the Detroit Institute of Arts.