The Vail Valley Foundation on Wednesday announced Pat and Pete Frechette as 2015 Vail Valley Citizens of the Year. They will be recognized at the 17th Annual Black Diamond Ball on December 4, 2015 at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch.
The Frechettes are being recognized for their long-standing commitment to the Vail Valley, demonstrated by their passion for the arts, a strong desire to provide opportunities for children, and a belief in stewarding our natural environment.
“Pat and Pete are humble, warm, and generous people, and many non-profit organizations in the Valley are doing great work in our community thanks to the Frechettes’ vision and leadership,” said Tina Vardaman, Vice President of Development at the Vail Valley Foundation. “They have been instrumental in the creation and care of so many of the community’s keystone institutions, and by doing so, they have enriched the lives of all of us here in the Vail Valley.”
The Frechettes met in their hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin and began dating in their senior year of high school. They graduated from University of Wisconsin, Madison and married shortly after college. Pete, the retired Board Chair and CEO of Patterson Companies, and Pat, whose degree in education fuels her passion for children and education, raised their family primarily in the Chicago area. Patterson Companies brought them to Minneapolis where they have given generously to support the community.
In the late 1990s, the Frechettes became part-time residents of the Vail Valley, and they quickly became a force of generosity and leadership in many of the Valley’s cornerstone institutions of culture, youth education, health services, and environmental stewardship. Pete has served on the Board of Directors of the Vail Valley Foundation since 2010 and has long been a champion of the Foundation’s mission of enriching the Vail Valley through programs and events in the arts, education and athletics.
They have been instrumental supporters of the STARS (Support the Arts Reaching Students) program at the Vilar Performing Arts Center (VPAC), which has provided opportunities for students in Eagle County to expand their horizons and experience live performing arts as an enhancement to their school curriculum.
“The Frechettes have been the lead donors of our STARS education program for many years”, said Kris Sabel, Executive Director of the VPAC. “Thanks to their generosity, thousands of Eagle County school children have had the opportunity to experience the magic of the performing arts each year. The program provides immediate benefits through study guides curriculum tie-ins but perhaps more importantly helps to instill a lifelong love of the arts in our youth.”
The Frechettes are a founding family of Roundup River Ranch, a member of Paul Newman’s Serious Fun Children’s Network, which provides children with serious illnesses the opportunity to attend camp. At Roundup River Ranch, located in Gypsum, Colo., children are able to experience the outdoors and make long-lasting friendships in a carefree, medically-supported environment. Their passion for quality health services in our community is also evident through Pete’s participation as a member of the Vail Valley Medical Center’s Heath Services Board.
Their passion for the environment is evident through their efforts to preserve our natural surroundings and promote environmental awareness and conservation through their support of Walking Mountains and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. They championed the creation of the Walking Mountains campus in Avon and most recently, the new Education Center at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail, allowing both organizations to accommodate visitors, and to provide a space for learning, research, student field trips, and educational displays.
“Pat and Pete are a special couple who have demonstrated leadership, good will, and a tremendous desire to improve our community”, said Kathy Borgen, community leader and philanthropist who serves on the Vail Valley Citizen of the Year Selection Committee. “They have significantly contributed to the heritage of the Vail Valley and its future, and are making a lasting difference in our community.”
The Frechettes have two children, Kathy Tenhula (husband Peter) and Kristy Woolfolk (husband Bill), who also call the Vail Valley home on a part-time basis. Pat and Pete are the proud grandparents of five grandchildren.
Tickets for the Black Diamond Ball may be purchased by calling the Vail Valley Foundation at (970) 777-2015 or visiting www.vvf.org.