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Dale and Peggy Fetchenhier

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

 

Dale, a farm boy from Minnesota who was stationed at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal while serving in the Army, found climate and outdoors activities of Colorado beckoning to him when he thought about leaving.  Peggy had lived in many places after her formative years in South Dakota, deciding she wanted to live in a more metropolitan area and settling in Denver in 1969.

In 1966 Dale moved to Evergreen; Peggy joined him after their marriage in 1973, helping to raise Dale's children.  Both had worked at Public Service Company; Dale retired from PSCo after a 37-year career in accounting and finance.

Peggy came from a creative family who loved to draw, paint, and play musical instruments.  Her exposure to music and artistry would become the basis for her years of volunteering in the community.  Dale's background on repairing and maintaining machinery on the farm made him very adept at all sorts of things.  Together, as a team, they have made significant impacts on the community as WORKER BEES in bold and all caps.

Evergreen Lutheran Church has been blessed to have them as members because their service goes far beyond what one might expect.  Dale has served as Treasurer for 15 years, during which time the church underwent a major expansion project.  He helped to develop two capital campaigns, served as Chairman of Stewardship and Finance, and designed the landscaping with the new addition.  He sings in the choir and plays in the Glory Ringers Bell Choir.  Since 1989 Dale has been in charge of all cashiers at the annual Grove Sale.

Peggy led the children's music program at Evergreen Lutheran for about 10 years, taught Sunday School, and began singing in the adult choir in 1979.  Since 1999 she has directed the choir and served as the Minister of Music, facilitating the participation of the musicians in the congregation and working on worship planning with Pastor Vera Guebert-Stewart.

Cashiering seems to be among their specialties, as they are often seen collecting money at the 9Health Fair (for Mt. Evans Home Health and Hospice) and the Alternative Gift Fair.  And each year they work on registrations for the Freedom Run (Mt. Evans).

Peggy served on the board of directors for Forest Heights Lodge, a residential treatment center for boys in Evergreen.

Opening their home to others seems to be an understatement.

For 6 years, Dale and Peggy provided respite care for special needs kids whose parents brought them to The Attachment Center, the youngest being three days old.  Always known for going one step beyond what is expected, one should not be surprised to learn that the adoptive mother also spent a week with them to improve the chances of bonding.

Peggy helped Linda Biery start the Evergreen Children's Chorale in 1991 and worked with the Honor Choir at Marshdale Elementary School.  When Jefferson County Public Schools tried to develop a horticulture program with Master Gardeners volunteering in the schools, Peggy and Karla Briggs developed a program and put on 8 classes each year for 10 years at Marshdale Elementary School.  Dale worked behind the scenes building scarecrows as part of the pest management segment and even dressed up as Tommy Tomato.

 

As members of the Evergreen Garden Club, both participated in planning the garden at the dam on the property of the Evergreen Metro District.  Each summer they work with other members to weed and maintain the garden for public enjoyment.  They facilitate a Garden Club Christmas Party for the boys at Forest Heights Lodge, giving each of the boys a plant and teaching them how to care for it.  Because the boys are often there as long as 2 1/2 years, members of the club often see the boys bring back the plant they got the previous year to show they've kept it alive and healthy.  This lesson in nurturing is more than a gesture of kindness from the club.

Over the years, Peggy has worked on a number of Evergreen Chorale shows with Larry Sohrweid, choreographing and designing sets.  Her talents as a "set designer" led both of them into something much bigger – volunteering for Mt. Evans Home Health and Hospice.  Although Peggy remembers helping founder Carol Linke clean out a space in her basement to start a hospice office, she didn't really get involved with the nonprofit until several years later when she took on the project to producing elaborate but low-cost decorations for the annual dinner-dance at Mount Vernon Country Club.

Peggy coordinates the set design and a committee of 15 or so, working approximately 3-4 months on this project annually.  Dale is involved with building materials, cutting out shapes from masonite, and assembling props. One of the more elaborate sets involved an operational ferris wheel that ran with the power of a rotisserie motor.  Another included a Western town built out of masonite.

The lower level of their home is dedicated to building props for several months each year.  The committee meets there weekly, working busily like elves before Christmas.  Both Dale and Peggy have taken on caring for elderly relatives and have special gratitude for those who provide hospice services, so this devotion to a cause only seems natural.

In addition, Peggy has been involved with the Mt. Evans Angel Project for the past 8 years.  "It is really a bereavement group," she says, explaining that many of the volunteers have utilized the services of Mt. Evans Home Health and Hospice with loved ones needing care.  The project involves creating and building hundreds of folk art angels (a different design each year) that are used to raise money for the agency during the holiday season.

Dale recalls having heard a pre-schooler's response one time when asked the definition of "retirement": "You do something else." His goal in retirement was to give back to the community, and they've both made a second career of that, just like the youngster said!