Susan was married to L.A. City Firefighter Bob Ortega for 22 years before his duty-related death in 2005. She is founder of the "Families of the Fallen" support protocol, originally developed for fire departments to use when coming alongside the widows of fallen firefighters. Susan's past speaking engagements include the IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial Honor Guard, a keynote at the ICISF World Congress, and keynote at the CSFA Convention.
Losing a loved one is an experience we all will face at one time or another. Unfortunately, how to come alongside a hurting family after their loss somehow remains a mystery to most of us as grief stares back in defiance at our best intentions. This website contains some guidelines to aid you as you attempt perhaps the most compassionate act of kindness you have ever undertaken.