We’re Here to Volunteer --- Peg Frees

peg_frees_RB_volunteer.JPGWhat was your high school mascot?

The Red Devils. I went to the Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. I was active in gymnastics at a time when there were very few girl's competitive gymnastics teams at the high school level. - we were one of only about five in the whole state of New Jersey. I also edited the Yearbook and enjoyed working with that team as well.

What brought you to Bradenton?

When we retired and left California (having lived in San Diego first, then San Francisco), we started driving across the country in our RV to see the sights. We got to Maine, liked it, and just decided to stay. When the Maine winters got too cold and long, we decided to become “snowbirds.” As people with a love for the arts, we were drawn to this area and liked Bradenton because of its affordability.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Honestly, there weren’t many opportunities for women at that time. You could be a teacher or a nurse or a flight attendant. I didn’t want to be a nurse and wasn’t tall enough to be a flight attendant so I went into teaching.

What did you do when you grew up?

I began my career path as Special Education teacher. Later I worked in a social service program, where I assessed potential participants and referred them to job training. From there I went back to school for my MBA and worked several years as a project manager for Bank of America, helping to bring personal computing and local area networks their back-office operations.

How did you get started volunteering with Realize Bradenton?

My husband and I saw a call for volunteers for the Bradenton Blues Festival. Since then we’ve been involved in different ways, including helping with the chef at the Market. I was in the office the other day helping fold shirts for the Blues Fest - it’s that time of year again.

Where else do you volunteer?

I used to volunteer at Selby Gardens working with the gardeners, now I help with special occasions such as Lights In Bloom and concerts. Sometimes I volunteer with Manatee Village Historical Park. In Maine I was a certified Master Gardener and active with the Belfast Garden Club, the local Historical Society and library; libraries are essential to any community. I have recently joined the Bradenton Woman's Club and will get involved in their projects when they start up again in September.

What do you love to do so much that you lose track of time while you’re doing it?

Definitely gardening is something I lose track of time with – except in summer here. It’s too hot to be outside for long. If I’m not gardening, I enjoy being in gardens, particularly Japanese gardens. I’m enjoying learning about gardening and plants in Florida.

Name a few of your favorite places in downtown Bradenton.

We enjoy frequenting some of downtown's restaurants - places like Pier 22 and O’Bricks, - and we love the Riverwalk and the Farmer’s Market and occasionally visiting the Village of the Arts. I know it’s a small downtown, but I would like to see more going here - more shops, more reasons to come downtown besides eating, and more variety in the local theater such as Shakespeare in addition to musicals, for example.

Batman or Superman?

Superman. I grew up reading comics since childhood and honestly don't even remember reading Batman. And of course Superman was on TV as well.