Cross Currents

Here's to Pete Snyder, storyteller, volunteer and character

Column by Bill Christopher
Posted 6/12/17

For those of us who have had the pleasure of meeting and knowing Pete Snyder, we know he is a colorful character. He enjoys and embraces life, no matter what he does.

Pete has a real talent for …

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Cross Currents

Here's to Pete Snyder, storyteller, volunteer and character

Posted

For those of us who have had the pleasure of meeting and knowing Pete Snyder, we know he is a colorful character. He enjoys and embraces life, no matter what he does.

Pete has a real talent for storytelling and his 24 years in the Navy and a 25-year career in selling and maintaining kiosks on a worldwide basis offer a lot of stories. Just sit down with him sometime and you will be entertained. Plus, you will learn a lot about dealing with people and making a difference.

He speaks several languages, which ties in with his company, Middle East Kiosk Solutions, doing business in a variety of countries.

He gives back to the community in a variety of ways, including his past 20 years in Rotary International, Nativity Catholic Church treasurer, conscience coffee group and Denver Zoo volunteer. But most of all, he is a dedicated volunteer for CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate.

Pete and his wife Linda live in Broomfield.

A distinguished naval career

Pete's naval career as an officer was most interesting. His main focus was in surface warfare during which time he served on Destroyer class ships as chief engineer, executive officer and commanding officer.

Especially intriguing was to learn about his 14 months in the Vietnam War, from December 1967-January, 1969. He was a swift boat officer and served with former Secretary of State John Kerry. During his military career, he received three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star.

You begin to get the picture.

"Being there for the child"

After Pete retired from the Navy and moved to Colorado, he joined the Westminster 7:10 Rotary Club. As fate would have it, he met District Court Judge Chris Melonakis while being a Rotarian. Judge Melonakis recruited Pete to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate for the 17th Judicial District, which serves Adams and Broomfield counties.

This was a match made in heaven, so to speak, because Pete has long been an outstanding advocate for neglected and abused children. His service covers 10 years so far and has involved 10 cases. He says that he is still going strong and is motivated to help be the voice for more children in court.

Some cases deal with multiple siblings. Pete's very first case involved six different children with five different parents, but that didn't scare him off.

He recounted another case involving a teenage boy who had attempted suicide on eight different occasions. He told me that it was imperative that he keep being there for him. So often, there aren't any adults in a child's life who they can trust or depend on. They have been misled, lied to or simply ignored too many times. That is why a caring CASA is critical to be involved in the child's life.

That is why Pete Snyder is so valuable.

Making the system better

He says that he approaches each case like a business. It is important to not become emotionally involved while remaining focused on the fact that it is all about the kids.

For people who work in the child welfare system, it is recognized that the procedures, caseloads, accountability, funding and coordination could be better. It is a constant effort to improve the system.

Pete sees himself as "a foil to work in a broken system." Through that lens, he is making a difference in a child's life with each case he administers.

We say thank you to Pete Snyder for his service to our country and to the neglected and abused children of Adams and Broomfield counties.

In order to address the needs of children in the system who do not have a CASA Advocate to nurture, mentor and speak up for them, CASA of Adams and Broomfield Counties is always seeking more volunteers.

These are people who wish to learn more about being an advocate and take the training to become an active advocate. If you wish to learn more or help CASA in other ways, contact Carly Wooldridge, outreach recruitment coordinator at 303-835-5543 or carly@casa17th.com.

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

Bill Christopher

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