Susie comes from a family with a history of military service in several branches of the U.S. military. Her father, the late Sgt. Russell J. Guckin, Sr, was a drill instructor in the Army and was stationed at Fort Dix during the Vietnam Era. He was later medically retired from the Army. Her oldest brother retired from the Navy after serving our country for 20 years. With a family history linked to Fort Dix, it seemed only natural to give back to that very same community.
Susie’s own personal history of trauma and post-traumatic stress led her to recognize the growing need to help others. She knew she would be able to teach others some of the tools to deal with the symptoms of PTSD.
From this personal experience, she began her own meditation practice and found that it had produced a sense of being truly present in her life. She also noticed an overall improved sense of well-being and improved physical health. Her practice helped her develop a connectedness that she hadn’t felt prior and with that, she began to share her experiences with the troops. They encouraged her to pursue it and often asked when she was going to teach them, so she took the step to become a “Warriors At Ease” certified meditation teacher.
Susie believes that if you are someone who has suffered from trauma and post-traumatic stress and you have come out the other side of it living a healthy, full, connected life, there is a responsibility to help others traveling the same road to do the same.
Susie has over 8 years of volunteer experience with our wounded and active-duty troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. She has previous experience volunteering with the USO and the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Advocates of Veterans of Modern Warfare. She began her journey at JB MDL by volunteering with the USO, welcoming and feeding the troops coming home from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. She often ended up chatting with a number of the soldiers who seemed to be feeling less than “at ease” to come home.
A fellow volunteer and Vietnam Veteran noticed the impact she seemed to be having on the morale of the troops and invited her to join him and some fellow Vietnam Veterans at the medical hold one day each week. In time she developed trust, camaraderie, compassion and a place in the hearts of the troops. They began to treat her as if she were one of them and the stories began to flow from the depths of their beings. Some would even ask her what unit she was with and with laughter, she would say, “Oh no… not me. I’m just a volunteer to welcome you home.” It was that statement that later stayed with her. “Just a volunteer.” No one, is ever “just a volunteer.” It takes great strength to face a soldier whose heart, soul, and very being have been deeply wounded by the peril of war and to not judge his/her experience. It is this knowledge that made her take a much bigger step into wanting to do more.
In honor of “Brain Injury Awareness” month, Susie was invited by the commander of the Warrior Transition Unit to speak to military personnel from the Warrior Transition Unit, Joint Readiness Command, and the Walson Medical Support Element about her experiences with head injuries. She has also been invited to begin teaching trauma-sensitive meditation classes to military personnel of the same three commands.
In the Fall of 2013, she was presented with a mission flag from the 32nd Air Refueling Squadron, JB MDL. The flag was flown aboard a KC-10 Extender in her honor during Operation Enduring Freedom, as a thank you for her volunteer work and support for the troops at JB MDL.
Susie is the owner of “Peaceful Warriors”, where she offers trauma-sensitive meditation and energy work. Her focus on military personnel, firefighters, police officers, emergency workers, and their families allows her to serve those who have served for us.
Susie is located in Forked River, New Jersey. Please feel free to contact her for further information.