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Nurse Susan Barber Honored for 20+ Years on the Frontlines of Fighting Child Abuse

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  • | 12:00 a.m. April 21, 2022
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Susan Barber- or "Nurse Sue" as she is affectionately referred to by her peers-is retiring after a career of over 20 years in the intervention of child abuse at the Child Protection Center, leaving behind a legacy of compassion and hope.

Sue's empathetic nature carved a clear path to health care from a young age,when she helped with her brother's medical needs brought by spina bifida.Years later, while working as a nurse, the opportunity to work specifically with victims of child abuse at CPC arose. "I didn't choose CPC- it chose me. This was where I belonged."

Sue reminisced on her best day- a Christmas Eve when a child came in with such severe injuries that they would not be going home. 'How will Santa ever find me now?' Sue and the Child Protection Investigator made sure the child had presents to wake up to on Christmas Day. "I think about that every Christmas Eve. Almost 20 years later, I carry that child in my heart."

"Unfortunately we don't always get happy endings, as much as we want them," Sue said about her worst day,when she viewed autopsy photos of a child who had been examined for an injury to their face only a month prior.

"Sarasota's a beautiful county, but ugly does happen here."

"You have to focus on the positive. If we see a child that's been sexually abused, neglected, or injured, this should be the last day they have to endure that. I look at this place (CPC) like a beacon of hope for the kids of this community."

Doug Staley, CPC's Executive Director, reflected, “Looking back over Sue's years of service, we see the countless cases she’s worked on, the long list of evidence gathered, the cabinets filled with files and notes... But this doesn't tellthe whole story. The real story is filled with children whose lives were changed by her kindness, who found safety in her tender care, and who left CPC knowing that they are not alone. Susan Barber is an unfaltering symbol of hope in our fight against child abuse- that is her true legacy."

Sue's wish is for "Adults to see a child as what they are- an absolute gift." Sheen courages each of us to "Give of yourtime to a child and give of your wallet to an agency that's an advocate of our children." She is very much looking forward to the time she'll get to spendwith her grandchildren in retirement.

Bring hope to the fight against child abuse in Sarasota County. Make a life-saving donation at
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