A Special Tribute to Susie Dozier (June 6, 1916 – February 3, 2016)

On Wednesday, February 3, 2016, Susie Dozier passed away at the ripe age of 99 years and eight months. What an extraordinary woman with an exceptionally generous spirit, loving heart and kind soul! Despite a challenging childhood of poverty and struggle, Susie overcame numerous obstacles and enjoyed a wonderful life that included her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and church members.

Susie grew up poor in Walterboro, South Carolina. Susie’s parents (my grandparents) migrated to New York City when Susie was 14 years old. They could only afford to transport their children one at a time from South Carolina to New York. When it was time for Susie to make the journey, she had no shoes.

Yet, Susie’s  life epitomized the power of faith. Growing up with her as my mother was a privilege and a gift. She espoused a spirituality that transcended religious, geographic, and cultural boundaries. Her mantra throughout my formative years was “Have Faith”. She knew and believed with all her heart and soul that everything comes together for good. Her service to her community and to her church was exemplary. She was a true child of God. She taught me that I am God’s child, that no one is better or less than me, that we are all God’s children; therefore, we are all connected.

It was within this spirit and through Susie’s inspiration, that, in October 2001, I established The Susie Reizod Foundation. The mission of The Susie Reizod Foundation is to provide new shoes to children in need. In special cases, we also provide educational support such as new backpacks and other school supplies. We serve boys and girls in need, aged newborn to 18 years old, who reside in poor urban and rural areas of the United States and developing countries, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, language, sexual orientation, or physical ability.

Since April 3, 2002,  when we received our 501c3, we have donated more than $944,000 (wholesale price or manufacturer’s cost) worth of new shoes (and, in special cases, new backpacks and other school supplies) to 52,000 children in need in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley, Lower Manhattan, Central and East Harlem, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Rochester, Columbia, Greene, Rockland and Putnam Counties; Massachusetts; Appalachia; Gulf Coast (Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama); rural areas of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida; rural areas of Albuquerque New Mexico; Moore, OK; Las Vegas NV; San Diego and Central Valley, CA; New Hampshire; Vermont; Newark NJ; MonmouthCounty NJ; Southern Indiana; Canada; Ecuador; Nicaragua; India (including Tsunami victims); Haiti; South Africa; Grenada; Angola; Kashmir; Tanzania; Afghanistan; Colombia; Dominican Republic (including children in the bateyes); China (Tibet, Malipo and Jinping); Ethiopia; Pakistan; Nigeria; Sudan; Somalia; Indonesia; Jamaica; Panama; Senegal; Malawi; Mali; and Bangladesh. We donated new shoes to children impacted by tornadoes in the Midwest, floods in Vermont, the BP oil spill, Hurricanes Katrina, Irene, Isaac, and Sandy. We donated funds for vulnerable girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Although Susie is no longer with us, we pay special tribute to her. The Susie Reizod Foundation is a celebration of her life and a vehicle for serving children in need.

During 2017, we will continue to serve children in need in the United States and developing countries.

We hope that you will help us by sending a donation to: The Susie Reizod Foundation, P.O. Box 816, New Paltz, NY 12561; (845) 255-9708. Your donation is tax deductible under IRS tax code.

Cynthia E. Dozier