Allied health sciences development director back from service in war-torn country
Pat Frede talks with allied health sciences faculty on her first day back after 14 months away. Photo by Crystal Baity
(Oct. 27, 2010)
One of the highlights of Pat Frede’s 10 months in Afghanistan was being embedded with U.S. Marine Corps Female Engagement Teams who try to develop relationships of trust and mutual respect with Afghan women in their own community.
Afghan women generally aren’t allowed to have contact with men outside their families.
"It was really an opportunity to make a difference," said Frede, who returned as director of development for East Carolina University's College of Allied Health Sciences on Oct. 18. She is a Navy veteran and reservist and was called to active duty in early 2009.
Following her missions with the female engagement teams, Frede returned to teach others what she had learned at Counterinsurgency Training Center-Afghanistan, a support hub for American and coalition forces, members of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police Force and civilian contractors. There, she was the non-commissioned officer in charge and senior enlisted command leader at Camp Julien, just 10 miles on the outskirts of Kabul.
"For all our differences, every mother wants the same thing for their kids, like medical care and education. They want a better life for their kids," Frede said.
Frede and other service members provided logistic support for the camp which ranged from food, beds and fuel to convoy operations for transportation and resupply to providing fire and security protection.
Dr. Stephen Thomas, dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences, was among those welcoming Frede her first day back with cake and ice cream in the college's faculty and staff lounge.
While constantly worrying about her safety and return from the stresses of war, he was relieved to have her back, Thomas said.
He said the biggest part of Frede’s job as a fundraiser is persistence. Before joining the college in 2007, the college raised approximately $36,000 a year in donations. In less than three years, she helped raise more than a million dollars.
"That shows her skills and commitment in developing alumni relations for us," he said. "She gets along well with everyone, and senses their needs." He said those same skills translated in Afghanistan. "It reinforces in me and our faculty just how valued she is to us," Thomas said.
Dr. Leonard Trujillo, associate professor and chair of occupational therapy, said he had great respect and appreciation for Frede's service. She kept faculty and staff updated with periodic photos and updates. "I shuddered to see you with a gun on your side," he said.
"Pat is a great leader whether serving our university or our country," said Dr. David Cistola, professor and associate dean for research.
Frede returned to the United States on Sept. 10 andspent a few weeks processing in Norfolk.
What did she most look forward to on her return? A bubble bath and spending time with family. Frede said she is grateful to everyone at ECU, especially the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation and the College of Allied Health Sciences for their support to her family during her deployment and the transition of coming back to work after being away more than a year.
Now, she is looking forward to once again "making a difference" for ECU, Frede said.
ECU was honored by the Department of Defense with the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award on Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C. The highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their outstanding support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve, ECU was one of 15 employers nationwide to receive this year’s Freedom Award at a ceremony attended by members of Congress, senior military officials and business industry leaders.