March 3, 2023
The Wardenburg family has been friends of Boys and Girls Country for over thirty years. Tis Gaston, our quality assurance and intake director, recalls her first meeting with Pete and Marilyn in the early 90s.
“It was a Saturday, I believe in 1993, and Dr. Michael Bearden, our then executive director, told me that a couple was coming out for a tour. As I was showing them around campus a little boy rode up on his bicycle and stopped to chat with us for a bit,” Gaston shared. “The meeting was brief between the boy and the couple, but it had a lasting impact on them. It was the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the Wardenburgs and BGC.”
After that day, the Wardenburgs not only became donors, they became pillars of the BGC community. Marilyn was a valued long-time volunteer before her passing in 2022. She spent many afternoons in the development office organizing and lending a hand wherever she was needed.
Mr. Pete, as he is affectionately known to all the students on campus, became a campus mentor and BGC board member. He is well-known for his commitment to his family, his dogs and to BGC. Over the years he has adopted several cottages and acted as a role model and mentor for many BGC students. One of those students is a young man named Robert who fondly remembers Mr. Pete’s effort to spend quality time with each of them while he was on campus.
“Mr. Pete is a very wise and caring man. I remember when he had his dogs, Clutch and Jesse, he would bring them over and allow us to play with them. He always took time out of his day to come and spend it with us,” Robert recalls.
“He would actually discuss what we wanted to do in the future and with our lives. He encouraged us to do what we were best at. He encouraged me to make my own path in life and to follow my dreams regardless of what other people thought about me. Mr. Pete is family.”
Last month we presented Pete Wardenburg with our “Lifetime Friend of BGC” award at our annual Friend of Children Awards. Mr. Pete is a valued member of our community, and the blessings of his commitment to the children at BGC will last for many generations to come.