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Susana Cruz, Boots on the Ground Award

Boots on the Ground Awardee
Susana Cruz
Nominated by Our Lady of Guadalupe Ministry

The Boots on the Ground Award is presented to an individual who has gone above and beyond to meet our community’s needs through rolling up their sleeves to serve the most vulnerable and underserved. Someone who steps up every single day to take care of our neighbors and our community.

“She is an angel for the Hispanic community, touching the lives of so many vulnerable people. These families often feel helpless in the face of great trials. She bestows onthem her greatest giftreassurance that they are not alone after allthey have a realfriend in Susie.
—Tamara Beigel, Director of Our Lady of Guadalupe Ministry St. Mary's Church

The energizer bunny has nothing on Susana “Susie” Cruz. Dedicated in serving the Hispanic population of Anne Arundel County, Susie has become a beacon of hope for them since she and her husband migrated from Mexico 30 years ago. 

“At that time, only a handful of caring souls were concerned about this marginalized part of the population in crisis, but Susie used all her efforts to expand awareness of their plight, focusing her energy on helping these families in vital ways,” said nominator Tamara Beigel, Director of Our Lady of Guadalupe Ministry, St. Mary's Church. “She has greatly impacted and sometimes literally saved hundreds of families' lives with her intervention.” 

Susie’s mission began at St. Vincent de Paul 25 years ago and has continued to be a vital part of their ministry, acting as a translator, and helping with family problems. She was largely responsible for bringing the Mexican Consulate monthly to Annapolis to supply immigrants with IDs, passports, work permits, and whatever else they needed. Susie’s compassionate heart also led her to volunteer at the Light House, working weekly as a translator, with the pantry, and holiday sharing program. 

Four years ago, Susie joined Our Lady of Guadalupe Ministry, working as the Ministry’s Director of Families, often from early morning to late night. The organization provides legal help, and assistance obtaining work permits, visas, and help with immigration. It also provides medical services, household items, and essentials like diapers, food, and medication.

Susie is immersed in all areas of our ministry's outreach. Because she is a beloved and trusted leader in the Hispanic church, people often approach the ministry by going to her first for help. She embraces the community with all her heart, passion, and unending energy.

“I am honored and inspired to work with Susie; there is no one I admire and rely on more. She is an angel for the Hispanic community, touching the lives of so many vulnerable people. These families often feel helpless in the face of great trials. But when Susana Cruz visits them, they are touched by her caring spirit. She bestows on them her greatest gift—reassurance that they are not alone after all—they have a real friend in Susie.” said Beigel.  

“Susie is a true defender of the rights of our communities, with a tireless commitment to serve those in need,” said Sergio Polanco, Hispanic Coordinator, County Executive’s Office. who has known her since 1998. “She discerns quickly their individual needs and moves efficiently to provide key information, recommendations, or direction — especially in uncertain times like the ones we are currently going through.” 

Watch the full video below.