When you think of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC), an elephant or a lion or a giraffe is not often the first association that comes to mind. However, we are very grateful to feature for October’s donor spotlight a unique connection between one of our most dedicated ski instructors, Frank Martinez, and his love for travel. Frank has purchased not one, but two safaris through African Eyes Travel, an agency that has been donating their exquisite dream safari services to BOEC’s auctions for the past three years.

Frank Martinez is all smiles these days

Frank Martinez is all smiles these days.

Frank has been on staff at the BOEC for five years now, but he is no stranger to the adaptive sports world. The certified adaptive instructor of 15 years shared that “he has a problem sitting still,” so after retirement, when searching for something to do, he stumbled upon a Paul Newman camp for kids with special needs and disabilities. His volunteer spirit on-the-snow there led to many other endeavors including volunteering with the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass, CO where he met BOEC’s Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program Director Jeff Inouye and past Assistant Director Amanda Coale.

Frank on an adaptive ski lesson with a mono skier

Frank on an adaptive ski lesson with a mono skier.

“Frank approached me to tell me he was moving to Denver and asked if I had any openings for a ski instructor,” recalls Inouye. “Knowing Frank’s skill set as an adaptive instructor, I immediately offered him a job with the BOEC. I have to admit it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as the Ski Program Director as Frank has been an incredible asset to our team and a fabulous instructor!”

Frank moved to Denver in 2015 to join his future wife and immediately fit right in with the program. He shares a few of the reasons that he is overjoyed to be working for the BOEC.

Frank poses with the U.S. Sled Hockey Team

Frank poses with the U.S. Sled Hockey Team.

“First, I love working with the population we serve,” he says. “It is so enjoyable to be with our participants and I get so much out of it. Second, hanging out with all of our interns each season helps me stay young!”

Indeed our interns bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the office but we are grateful for the hard work and positivity that Frank puts into being a ski instructor and donor to the BOEC. In addition to the time and energy he contributes to the ski office, Frank also contributes in another unique way.

Frank gets a student ready for a lesson

Frank gets a student ready for a lesson.

“The Martinez family has always enjoyed traveling, so when I saw an option to purchase a donated African Safari on the virtual auction, I wanted to bid immediately, especially since I knew this was also helping out the BOEC,” says Frank.

Going on a safari has always been on his bucket list and we sure are grateful that he will have an incredible experience with our philanthropic partners, African Eyes Travel.

BOEC has offered and sold many African Eyes Travel packages for the past three years.

Development Manager, Hallie Jaeger, shares “This is a win-win-win for all parties involved … BOEC, the auction winner, and African Eyes Travel. Astrid and Robert Graf at African Eyes Travel are incredible to work with and the BOEC is incredibly grateful for their donated portion of the safaris.”

Frank's twin stepdaughters, Grace & Lily (background), volunteer on an adaptive ski lesson.

Frank’s twin stepdaughters, Grace & Lily (background), volunteer on an adaptive ski lesson. Photo courtesy of Andy Cross, The Denver Post.

Frank is very excited to take his wife and twin stepdaughters on safari as a high school graduation present. This is a family tradition … When the oldest graduated high school the Martinez clan all headed to Rome.

The twins are connected to the BOEC as well. In 2019 they came out to volunteer with us during our VI camp, or ski week for the visually impaired.

Frank, we are so grateful for your dedication on the slopes and on safari. We hope the elephants, lions and giraffes are all as good to you as you have been to us!