Bloomfield Resident honored for courageous relief effort in Phillipines

When Susie Gonzales made a trip to the Phillipines to care for her mother, she didn't realize she would return to Iowa a hero.

But that's just what happened after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Phillipines this past November.

Gonzales provided shelter for those in need during preparation for the typhoon.

"I went to the market to get some food and get ready for the day," said Gonzales. "And we invited almost 20 people in my house because they didn't have very sturdy houses."

And when the typhoon hit, Gonzales reached out to her family for financial assistance to help her community that was rife with devastation.

People were without drinking water, electricity, and were in need of basic supplies.

So her step-daughters reached out to the Davis County community and set up the Save Susie Fund.

The fund raised over $5,000 and aided 150 people in Susie's community as well as neighboring communities.

"Even though we did some work to spread the word and raise funds here, she did all the hard work," said step-daughter Sarah Krenz.

With the funds, Susie provided typhoon victims with drinking water and care packages that included food items and coffee.

The funds were also used to provide clothing and help pay medical bills. Generators were purchased and a water pump was installed as well.

Andrea Gonzales was proud and impressed of how her step-mother was able to reach out and help people while being amongst the devastation.

"She has done amazing work just being over there and witnessing the devastation," said Andrea. "None of us can imagine because we weren't there trying to help everybody amongst struggling themselves--we have rough winters in Iowa. We lose power for three days, a week maybe. They went without power for two months."

And Susie was grateful for the overwhelming community support.

"I just want to thank everybody and the community for supporting me."