Volunteers in Medicine is honored to be able to present the 2016 Sister Monica Heeran Legacy of Caring Award to Susan Ban, the Executive Director of Shelter Care!

The Sister Monica Heeran Legacy Award is given to honor an individual who, through their dedication and compassion, has helped make our community a better, healthier place for the underserved and the disadvantaged.Susan moved to Eugene in 1984 and kept busy during that time by being a mom and with various positions with the American Baptist Church, including being an interim minister. When the new minister arrived, Susan began looking for a new challenge and a way to give back to the community.

Susan first came to ShelterCare as a volunteer where she worked with the board president on generating general procedures and policies. She was invited to join the board of directors in 1988. Two years later she became an employee of the organization and in 1991 she became the Executive Director – a position she still holds to this day.

When Susan came to ShelterCare the organization was going through a period of change. Her guidance and leadership helped stabilize ShelterCare and propelled it to the respected organization it is now.

ShelterCare was organized in 1970 to serve homeless families. Since then, the mission of the agency has expanded to provide other services. Their services include: emergency shelter, transitional housing services, vital long-term supported housing, one-on-one and group support to build skills for independent living and household stability, and assistance with basic needs such as food, clothing, and household supplies.

Under Susan’s leadership, ShelterCare has developed a well-earned reputation for being innovative and responding to the needs of vulnerable populations, such as low-income individuals who have survived a brain injury. ShelterCare’s Uhlhorn Program provides housing and services for people who have sustained brain injuries and are working to regain the skills necessary for independent living.

Susan’s focus has always been on how best to serve the homeless, regardless of who gets the credit or which agency provides the service. She is known for viewing problems objectively. If ShelterCare isn’t the best organization to provide the service, then she will work collaboratively to help find a better fit.

Outside of ShelterCare, Susan has served on many boards including United Way, Better Eugene-Springfield Transit, Olive Plaza, Cornerstone Community Housing, Neighborhood Partnerships, Eugene Chamber of Commerce, and the PeaceHealth-Oregon Regional Board. Susan was a first level founder for bringing Project Homeless Connect to Eugene. PHC provided essential and comprehensive services to people living on the streets.

Susan is known for her ability to give a voice to the people who are most vulnerable and in most need in the community. She brings a unique and valuable perspective on the critical needs of homeless populations, specifically those that are disabled and/or have head trauma. Susan has always been a person to whom the community can look when considering how to best help the people who are in the greatest level of need.

We will present Susan with the award at 11:30 on Thursday, September 29 at the Holiday Inn Eugene/Springfield (919 Kruse Way).

Space is limited to please RSVP by calling Justin Goettsch at (458) 205-6362.