Chronicling path from sinner to saint | AspenTimes.com

Chronicling path from sinner to saint

Scott CondonAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN Susie Scott Krabacher has been a sinner and a saint, and a book she released this week shows she has been very, very good at both aspects of her life.”Angels of a Lower Flight” details how she evolved from a cocaine-fueled model and Playboy centerfold who bottomed out in Aspen into a good Samaritan who risked her life to help unwanted children of Haiti.”The book is a page-turner,” Krabacher acknowledged Friday, without a hint of gloating.While the book is about Krabacher, warts and all, it’s really an effort to draw attention to dire conditions facing handicapped, orphaned and underprivileged children in Haiti and her efforts to help them. Krabacher formed the Mercy and Sharing Foundation with her husband, Aspen attorney Joe Krabacher, 14 years ago. It is dedicated exclusively to helping the children of Haiti.In a way, she indicated, it was almost a necessary evil to write about her lurid past at the Playboy mansion to hook people and educate them about her foundation’s work. Media interviews always circle back from her philanthropic efforts to her previous experiences, she said.So she deals with it in a straightforward way, without sensationalizing it. Her memoir discusses the sexual abuse and neglect she endured as a kid. She was out of her family’s house and introduced to a party life in Salt Lake City by age 15. The petite blonde’s good looks opened doors to a modeling career and the Playboy mansion before she was 20.Krabacher provides a glimpse of the sex and drugs that dominated her life without getting raunchy. She offers details that most people would die before revealing.”Those things happened in my life,” she said. “I wasn’t equipped to make good decisions, and I didn’t. I made disastrous ones.”She wrote about consuming only cocaine and vitamins for about a month and developing an affinity for blow. She went through men at will but rejected the advances of rocker-cum-crooner Rod Stewart. She fell out of favor with Julio Iglesias after falling to the temptations of drugs against his warnings. At the Playboy mansion, Krabacher wrote, she slept with Hugh Hefner after ingesting an unknown drug and blacking out. The incident, she said, made her realize she needed a change in her life.Krabacher got into a lousy first marriage with a man who slept with a stripper during their honeymoon. They moved to Aspen, where his past caught up to him, and he got busted by the FBI for crimes she never details. She was temporarily homeless in Aspen but had began getting her life in order by the time she met Joe Krabacher, the lawyer who handled her divorce proceeding. They fell in love and married in 1988.Susie Krabacher renewed her vows of faith. She was raised as an active Christian in the South but had strayed. While searching for a purpose in life, she discovered the plight of the children of Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world. The more she learned, the more she became determined to help. She also learned that her troubled youth paled in comparison to the suffering of children in the Third World country.She labeled Haiti as America’s social disaster: “You can’t believe what’s going on 500 miles from the coast of Florida,” she said.”Angels of a Lower Flight” switches from a depressing look at her own childhood to a lurid account of her time as a model to an inspiring look Krabacher’s determination to make a positive difference in the world. The Krabachers’ foundation now operates three schools, two orphanages, a hospital and a facility for abandoned babies. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit provides aid to more than 3,300 people in Haiti, mostly children.In a way, you can judge Krabacher’s book by its cover. Instead of using a current picture of herself or one from her modeling days to market the book, Krabacher choose an endearing image of two Haitian kids she’s helped.The book is available at local bookstores and online; it sells for $24.95. All proceeds go to the Mercy and Sharing Foundation. For more information about the foundation’s mission, visit http://www.haitichildren.com.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com