ABOUT US

Gus’s Goods is a nonprofit 501c3 charity designed to provide folks with supplies they need, from flannel blankets to masks to bereavement supplies for those who have experienced loss.

 

Our nonprofit serves hospitals and mortuaries in communities with fewer than 50,000 residents; migrant shelters in Southern Arizona; homeless shelters; Indian reservations; and other areas where resources are less likely to be available.

 

For hospitals, we provide home-sewn flannel bassinet liners, small baby blankets, flannel patient belongings bags, and soft bonding pouches. For mortuaries, we provide blankets for viewing and small flannel pouches for infant and child cremains. We also currently provide face masks for the Navajo Indian reservation, children's blankets and travel bags for the migrant shelters, and masks for the homeless shelters.

We are always looking for fabric, volunteers to help sew and donations.

THE NUTS AND BOLTS

On a regular basis, our team of volunteers purchases supplies, sews comfort items, and keeps an inventory available to serve the communities that are counting on us.

 

Our volunteers purchase fabric, ribbon, thread, and tags. Some cut the fabric, some sew, and others iron, while some of our volunteers do the packaging and shipping. We are always looking for volunteers, and would be delighted to have you! Please shoot us a message if this sounds like something you are interested in. And if  know of a community in need, we would love to help.

MEET THE TEAM

MISTY DECKER

MSN, CNM

Board of Directors

Misty is a certified nurse-midwife and the founder of Desert Blossom Midwifery. She is a long-time resident of Sierra Vista, AZ, and feels privileged to care for women and families every day. She has always had a passion for helping others by working in healthcare. Her approach to midwifery includes a partnership with her clients where she listens to their needs and empowers them to provide a safe, evidence-based experience at every encounter. Her skill set reaches far beyond childbirth. Misty specialized in all areas of women's health from early teens through menopause.

DIA MADDEN

FNP-C

Board of Directors

Dia has been working as a nurse for two decades, and has been a family nurse practitioner at a federally qualified health center for 9 years. She just completed her doctorate in nursing practice at the University of Arizona, and is utilizing her newfound skills to promote her passion of bringing high quality healthcare to everyone in every corner of the U.S. Right nows she's working and focusing on Cochise County. When she isn't working, you can find her spending time with her huge family.

SUSAN WALLS-BORTMAN

WHNP-BC

Board of Directors

Susan obtained her Women's Health Nurse Practitioner degree from Arizona State University in 2003. She worked for 20 years as a labor and delivery nurse prior to becoming a nurse practitioner. She enjoys working with women of all ages and varying needs, to include pregnancy and miscarriage and worked as a grief nurse for years at the local hospital in Sierra Vista for women who had lost a baby. She enjoys gardening, hiking, reading, cooking and bird watching. She is married and has two sons that grew up in Sierra Vista.
 

MY STORY

In August of 1993, I went on a family road trip to the beach with my husband and three young sons when the unthinkable happened. We found ourselves rushing to the emergency room in a rural beach town far from our home. Our baby boy, Gus died a few hours later in the adult ICU. The staff at the hospital were amazing and did, I believe, the best they could.

 

There is no easy way to give your newly deceased infant to the coroner. So I didn’t. With bone-crushing grief, I handed our baby over to my mom who had arrived minutes earlier. She was able to do what I could not.

 

Only 4 of us drove home.

 

The days and weeks to follow were dark and blurry. A fog that you move through without any clear knowledge of how or why or when. It’s been 25 years since we lost Gus, and I finally feel ready to tackle some of those unbearably sharp edges of grief.

 

So many stubborn memories stick with you when you experience this kind of trauma: for me, it was the harshness of that transaction that stuck with me most. Placing your baby into a stranger's arms does not feel right. And letting that stranger wrap your baby in a generic hospital blanket felt so impersonal and detached leaving an unforgivable feeling in your chest. That snapshot is forever seared into my memory. There has to be a better way.

 

I started Gus’s Goods because I feel there is a real need for suitable bereavement supplies specifically designed for the loss of an infant especially in rural communities. Since its inception, the nonprofit has grown and changed to better help people who need it most. In 2018, we started providing patient belonging bags for families who experienced any kind of loss, not just pediatric. We began working homeless shelters, migrant shelters and Indian reservations to supply them with blankets and other sewn goods. In response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, we began sewing masks. As the needs of our communities change, so do we.

One blanket at a time. One community at a time.

TORI SILVA

Executive Director/ Founder

Tori is a recently retired registered nurse, mother of three adult children, and wife of 35 years. Her career began in 1985 working on the maternal child unit at Ft. Defiance Indian Hospital in Ft. Defiance, AZ. Since then, she has continued to work with women and children in a variety of capacities. Now that she is retired, you can find her outside most of the time. She enjoys hiking, tending to her succulent garden, anything involving the kitchen, and hanging out with her chocolate Labrador, Hank.

CHRISTIANNA SILVA

Media Coordinator

Christianna Silva is a writer, editor, and journalist. She currently works as an associate editor for PHOENIX magazine and as a political reporter for Teen Vogue. Previously, she has worked as a staff writer for Newsweek; a news assistant at NPR; the editor-in-chief of Bottle Magazine and more. She is a big fan of Oxford commas, essential oils, reading fiction, and hanging out with her cat, Colby Jack.

Contact

©2020 by Christianna Silva for Gus's Goods. Logo by Isabelle Wang.