SUSAN MCALISTER

Dr. Keener,

You have been my fondest mentor for over 40 years.

At one of our National Trainer training days you talked about a triangle. The triangle we must emulate of career, family, and community. It was at that session you inspired me to always give back to the community. As I have matured over the years, I use that wisdom advise to this day. My community ministry is a very important part of my life.

I was enamored that a physician would and could create a course to help children help other children and you would share your valuable time. You spent your time not only training us on the content but teaching us delivery style and multiple ways of repetition to secure the knowledge.

Recently I was working with 20 RNs at work and I had a few with “sidebar” conversations occurring. After that meeting, I reflected on how you must have felt when I did the same while you were speaking. I do want to acknowledge that it was never, never out of disrespect, but I loved the National Trainers and a few of us were kindred spirits (and you know the rest).

One of the funniest things I can remember at a Safe Sitter® experience was when I was teaching in Butte, MT. It was several long fights from Indianapolis and then I had to take crop duster flown by a Forest Ranger into Butte.

The nice Forest Ranger explained to me that Butte was originally built in the foothills of mountains and has been expanding into the mountain. He explained that the mountain lions were unsettled and were attacking people who were invading their turf. He asked me to stay in the city that night and not wander far from the hotel.

The next morning at the hotel I asked for a taxi to the hospital. The clerk smiled and said, “We do not have taxis. The hospital is four blocks north up the hill directly behind the hotel”. I had a pleasant walk to the hospital and the scenery were beautiful.

During the training session, I was at the portion of the training where we talked about guns and asking the parents to put them way. The attendees were adamant that the children respected guns, and they were at every door due to the recent uproar in the mountain lions.

The training ended and it was dusk as I was going back to my hotel. I was carrying my Safe Sitter® bag, purse, and a jacket. As I descended down the hill, I saw an object hunkered down and slowly approaching in my peripheral vision. The faster I walked, the faster this object followed.

I started running down the hill, I was sure that the mountain lion was inches from my heels, and I was his dinner. I flew into the hotel entrance with tears running down my face. The receptionist and another man ran to my rescue. They asked what had happened. I sobbed and explained that I was being chased by a mountain lion and I lost my jacket and my purse while I was running.

At that moment, another man entered the hotel carrying my purse and jacket. He heard what was going on. He crippled over laughing while he was holding a dachshund puppy that was running from his yard after a nice lady.

The moral of that story – your mind certainly has a way of playing tricks on you! What was a moment of terror is now one of my funniest stories.

You are a wonderful physician, creator, teacher, and friend. I am proud to be associated with Safe Sitter® and to have been one of your National Trainers.

Best wishes and God bless,

Susan McAlister