McLean, Susan

Susan McLean was born May 12, 1948; she came of age in the 60s, an idealistic young woman in the time of JFK.  Asked what she could do for her country, she chose the Red Cross and Vietnam, serving as one of the fable “Donut Dollies” of the time.  It became her mission to bring a piece of home to the American troops serving and fighting in Vietnam.  Susan and the other Donut Dollies visited them in bases all around the country, playing games and talking and reminding that people back home cared about them.  She also did this for the Vietnamese orphans, one time arranging a visit from Santa Claus in a helicopter.  Susan shared many powerful stories here, including that of Donut Dolly Ginny Kirsch, who was murdered by an American soldier in country.  Susan found it difficult to return home; so much had changed in her world in her year away.  Over time she adapted and remained in touch with her colleagues from the war.  The unveiling of the Vietnam Veterans’ Wall Memorial in Washington D.C. helped Susan to revisit and heal the wounds from the war.  Crestwood students were able to meet Susan McLean and hear her and Vietnam veteran George Slook’s remarkable stories via zoom in May 2021.