Who’s There: Patti Bowers | SummitDaily.com

Who’s There: Patti Bowers

Summit Daily/Reid WilliamsFrisco resident Patty Bowers relaxes on the couch while babysitting nephews Henry and Oliver Trowbridge.

FRISCO – Patti Bowers chokes up when she thinks about the people her volunteers help at The House with the Red Door.The volunteer coordinator began work there three years ago, serving soup to people who had just come into town, who were down on their luck or just wanted a safe place to mingle with others. And she’s recently handed over the job to Lindsay Breece, who stopped by “The House” seeking help with her resume and became involved in helpin”You volunteer, you think you’re giving,” Bowers said. “You are giving, but you’re getting so much more back.” The House was founded by St. John the Episcopal Church Father Ron Griffin, who then owned a deli in town. There he saw a lot of young people, many looking for housing and work.”He felt there was a need for them to have a safe place to go and hang out,” Bowers said.He opened the first House in a condo on Ski Hill Road, and a year later, moved the operations to the Summit Ridge Center across the highway from the Breckenridge Recreation Center.There, they serve soup to 10 to 12 young people each day. The guests also can do laundry, mingle on overstuffed couches in front of the gas stove and obtain information about jobs, housing and social programs available.

Bowers never imagined herself becoming a volunteer at such a place, much less the one who coordinates the House’s 60 volunteers.One of a family of eight children, Bowers attended community college in Iowa to major in fashion merchandising. She moved to Summit County with her sister for a year, then traveled for another year before getting her marketing degree at the University of Iowa.She met her husband, Eddie, at a ski show in Chicago in 1986. They married the next year and moved to Park City, Utah, where he was working. They later moved to Summit County so he could take a public relations job at Copper Mountain.The couple then had two children, Matt, now 17, and Kealy, 14, so Bowers became a stay-at-home mom.In 1991, her sister suggested she get an electric knitting machine, and with that, along with Eddie’s contacts in the ski industry, she begin making knitted beanies. That evolved into fleece – and later into Mattie B’s, a hat company named after their son.Bowers’ first sale was to Ski the Summit, an organization that marketed the county’s four ski areas. Her hats were so popular, she had to contract out the work.

“I freaked out,” she said. “How was I going to knit 250 hats with these kids running around? Pretty soon, the hats, the cutting tables and boxes of yarn were all over different houses.”She now contracts out the sewing and remains in charge of design, marketing, shipping and production coordination.When Griffin asked her if she would be interested in volunteering at the House, Bowers agreed.”We’re offering a hand up, starting with that hot meal and conversation,” she said. “It’s a safe place to be comfortable.”The House also has emergency shelter – something they thought they’d see more demand for – and helps people in a “Milestones” program that, step by step, helps them get back on their feet. Additionally, House volunteers have connections with the county’s social service departments to help people with specific needs.Now, with her two kids in high school, Bowers wants to spend more time with her family and their activities.

But she still has fond memories of the House, particularly of last year when she took Matt to the House for Thanksgiving.”I wanted to take him and show him,” she said. “It’s good for kids to see you giving to the community.”Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at jstebbins@summitdaily.com.g those in need.

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