Fred and his wife Wendy

Like so many people, it was a family story that first brought Fred Fretz to Threads of Life. And like so many, it was the chance to have an impact on many that kept him involved both as a volunteer and as a donor. He was a member of the initial Threads of Life board of directors, and served on the board for eight years. He has remained a generous supporter, making annual donations.

When he retired from the board in 2014, Fred commented: “You see Threads of Life in action and come away reminded that ‘this is really important’,” he says. “That’s the aspect that keeps you going.” We checked in with him recently to talk about why he continues to support the organization.

How did you first learn about Threads of Life and become involved?
In the early 2000s I was looking for ways to increase my community involvement. A letter came across my desk that had been sent to a former President of our company that described the goals of Threads of Life and its desire to recruit board members. As the head of Human Resources in our company it was my department’s mandate to champion our health and safety efforts and frankly, I was blessed to work in an organization where that commitment was taken very seriously. The solicitation letter was written by Shirley Hickman. As a London resident, I was all too familiar with the terrible workplace tragedy that had claimed the life of Shirley’s son Tim. On top of the media attention the tragedy received, my wife Wendy had taught Tim in elementary school. I applied for the role and am grateful that I was selected.

As a loyal donor, what is it about Threads of Life that has encouraged you to support the organization even after retiring from the Board?
While serving on the Board I was honoured to attend Family Forums in all parts of the country. This allowed me to meet dozens of family members who continued to live with painful realities of trying to carry on after workplace tragedies devastated their families. We also had visitors from the Speaker’s Bureau participate in our company’s annual health & safety day. Our employees were moved and inspired by these talks which reinforced our own efforts to drive home the incredible importance of safety in our work and personal lives. So, witnessing the Threads of Life processes in action, funded through our donations, was very gratifying and reinforced the importance of the organization’s existence.

What is the impact or difference you would like your gifts to have?
While we may never know the full impact of Threads of Life’s efforts, I pray the programs we fund will inspire companies to be more safety diligent; workers to always work safely while never taking shortcuts; and survivors of workplace tragedies to find and use the supports of Threads of Life.

Threads of Life is honoured to have many loyal funders and donors. You can donate directly on our website at If you’d like information about other ways of giving, or providing a gift in your will, please contact Lorna Catrambone, Director of Development – [email protected] or 888-567-9490 extension 110. 

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