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Meet Susan Stearns

Written by Ruth Morehouse on .

Being president of the Mt. Evans Home Health and Hospice board is challenging enough for a busy professional who is also managing her own demanding, full time law practice, but Susan Stearns has actually been president of this important community nonprofit three different times. When Susan gets involved with a community organization, she really invests herself in it in all the way.

She originally got involved in this vital mountain community organization in 1981. After 6 years, term limitations led to her getting off of the board. But a year later, other board members were eager to have her back because of her expertise and commitment to the mission of Mt Evans. Many years later, she is still on the board, although she has gone had to periodically comply with term limitations and give others a chance to serve.

The Mt Evans Freedom Run, a tradition in Evergreen that was developed by the hospice board, is one of her favorite activities; and she reports that, since 1988, there has only been two years when she was not involved in the organizational aspects of this really fun event.

Susan was also involved in the Leadership Evergreen board from 2001-2004 and served one year as president. Her other major community involvement has been with Evergreen Kiwanis and she has been president of that organization two different times and has been a member for decades. She explained that she is particularly fond of the members of that organization and likes the emphasis on service projects that are very specific to Evergreen such as raising funds for play equipment for the Buchanan Recreation Center or highway cleanup in the area.

Of course, an individual like Susan with legal expertise is often in high demand for service organizations and volunteer boards of nonprofits, but even more important are the personal qualities that Susan brings into her volunteer activities. Susan is very even-handed and steady state. She is able to deal with difficult issues in a calm, collaborative manner; and she is practical and realistic while simultaneously projecting her optimistic view of life and human relations. Susan also has a wry but respectful sense of humor that can take the edge off an emotionally charged issue that may up when passionate community activists are making decisions for their respective community organizations.

Susan met her husband Frank O'Laughlin in law school; and after practicing in Montana for awhile, they eventually found their way to the Evergreen area where she has had her own practice since 1991. Her expertise is in the area of estate planning, trusts, and elder law. Through these areas of practice and her many years in the community, she has become a very well known individual in our community and experiences much satisfaction in guiding people to make good choices about finances, retirement, and preparing for the future and end-of-life issues.

Earlier in her career, she was very involved with various professional boards and governmental advisory boards, but in more recent years she has enjoyed focusing her volunteer efforts on “in the trenches” involvement with her beloved Evergreen mountain community.