Arriving in Colorado Springs seven months pregnant, Sharyn Marcus had an unpleasant surprise; her husband had a girlfriend. Soon after her baby was born, she was a single mom. Like many women in similar circumstances, she did what she had to do. Today, it remains her greatest personal accomplishment.

“As a single mom with help from friends and neighbors,” she recalls, “I raised an incredible son while working two jobs simultaneously, earning three advanced degrees and graduating from the CSPD Reserve Police Academy. I learned I can achieve my goals and help other single parents achieve their goals.”

In a long and varied career, Marcus has accomplished much. She is particularly proud of her role in starting and expanding the Paperclip Campaign when she served as a teacher and librarian in School District 20.

“The Paperclip Campaign honors Holocaust victims on the Days of Remembrance,” Marcus said. “The campaign simply asks people to wear a paper clip on their collars during that week to honor Holocaust victims, to denounce hatred and racism and to embrace equality and respect for all humanity. It’s now an international program.”

Marcus presently serves as the executive director of the Colorado Springs Dental Society. In that capacity, she reaches out to the community to help people receive needed dental care through various programs, including the Colorado Mission of Mercy, Give Kids a Smile and serving Our Neighbors in partnership with Kids in Need of Dentistry.

Her personal mission statement is detailed and heartfelt:

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• “To find value, fulfillment and happiness in my life. I will commit to integrity, lifelong learning, respect towards others, kindness and to helping others;

• “To be dedicated to my goals of having successes in both my professional and personal life, guided by a sense of mission: to make a difference;

• “To be a giver. Give my time, my energy, my resources and my heart;

• “To remember what is important: family, friends, pets, doing work that offers a sense of accomplishment, contributing to my community and to those less fortunate, living a balanced life, and getting healthy; and

• “To acknowledge daily that I’m still a work in progress, that God isn’t done with me, yet.”

Marcus has gone on eight dental missions to the Philippines, devoting herself to rescuing victims of sex trafficking.

“Traffickers will bring their victims to a dentist before they’ll take them to a physician — they want them to have nice smiles,” she said. “It’s so anguishing to see a 5-year-old who will only sleep under a bed because bad things happen on a bed.”

“When I retire in a few years, I think I’ll spend January and February on mission in the Philippines,” she continued. “I’ll be a sunbird, but I’ll be doing something worthwhile.”

— John Hazlehurst