Patti Eanet and Mikel Frazee are Like the Energizer Bunnies
On any given day of the week, Patti can be found hopping around The Inn from one project to the next. For the past 23 years, she has been donating her time, talents and treasures to our “place like home.” Beginning as a welcome desk volunteer in 1999, working as a part-time Inn staff member on the resident services team in 2002, serving Sunday evening family dinners as a volunteer again in 2007, processing all food donations and stocking and organizing the pantries in all three kitchens in 2016, and now organizing storage spaces as the queen of the caverns in 2022, Patti has quite literally held every volunteer position possible at The Inn. If you aren’t exhausted just reading this, it is worth noting that Patti performed most of these duties while working full-time as a labor lawyer for The National Treasury Employees Union in Washington, D.C.
Patti has since retired from her day job but continues her commitment to The Inn in several of the capacities listed above, including serving as a member of The Inn’s volunteer advisory committee. Patti says, “I continue to be inspired by our families, their bravery, strength and kindness. I especially enjoy the time I spend with families while they cook and I work in the kitchens. Moms frequently ask if I can bring them a particular food, or kitchen tool or gadget. The other day, a woman was baking a cake that she always bakes at home in Puerto Rico and it required sprinkles of a particular size and shape. It was such a blessing to be able to help her by finding those sprinkles so that she and her family could enjoy that special cake, as they do at home. I love getting to know our families and it is so rewarding to make their stay just a tiny bit easier or better. I always feel like I get far more than I give from my work here at the Inn.”
When Patti married Mikel in 2001, he automatically became part of The Inn family. He started what would eventually become his own wonderful journey at The Inn by driving families to the grocery store in the (in)famous van. He recalls a story about a little boy in a wheelchair who hadn’t left the NIH or The Inn in months. That little boy was so excited about the trip to the grocery store that he was slapping high five to Mikel left and right, thanking him profusely for the adventure. While his parents shopped for groceries, Mikel wheeled him around the shopping center. “It was something else,” Mikel reminisces fondly. “I remember his smile to this day…and how extremely grateful his parents were. By helping people get what they want, I get what I want.”
Over the years, and not dissimilar to Patti’s varied roles at The Inn, Mikel has gone from van driver to furniture assembler to plant waterer to garden cultivator to holiday light stringer. Their willingness to roll up their sleeves knows no bounds. Members of our Leadership Circle and Northern Stars, Patti and Mikel have not only given tirelessly of themselves as volunteers but as generous financial supporters for nearly 30 years.
The reason why? “So many children and families over the years remain with me always, in my mind and heart,” responds Patti. “We all want to make life better for the families. That’s what it’s all about,” says Mikel. Thank you, Patti and Mikel, for your loyal support of The Children’s Inn.