Peter J. Vartelas Invest In Youth Fund #1
Est. 2006 as a revocable organization fund by a transfer of assets.
For Peter Vartelas, growing up during the depression in the Valley as the son of hard-working Greek immigrant parents meant helping out at the family grocery store in Ansonia everyday after school and on weekends. It also meant frequent trips to the Valley YMCA (called the Ansonia YMCA at that time) to play countless hours of his favorite sport - basketball. So it was no surprise that in 1987 he created the Invest in Youth Fund at the Valley YMCA which pays for the membership fees for children whose families can't afford them.
"Through Mr. Vartelas' generosity, more than 2,000 children have now benefited from the Fund," said then Valley YMCA Executive director Suzanne Reilly. "His gifts have helped us to serve the community in so many special ways. We are pleased to honor his memory by establishing the Peter Vartelas Invest in Youth Fund through the Valley Community Foundation."
Peter Vartelas was proud to make the Valley his home. After working a short time on oil pipelines in Caspar, Wyoming at the age of 19, he returned home to Ansonia and apprenticed to a local roofing company. In 1958, he established Valley Roofing and Siding, which is now run by his son's Paul and Chris.
"Our father always made everyone he met feel like a million dollars," said Paul Vartelas. "Everywhere he went, he knew someone, and would strike up a conversation with them - about their family, or a sport they played in high school. He built his business through hard work and integrity - and he kept his word to his customers who invariably became his friends. He always cared about the well being of other people - but his family came first. If other kids growing up had dads like him, the world would be a much better place. I miss my dad more and more each day - the world truly lost a really great and generous man."
"Our father was very humble," said daughter Larissa Cristiano. "He achieved great success in his lifetime, but he always remembered where he came from. He was so compassionate to those who did not have as much, and he raised his family on that belief." Brother Chris Vartelas agreed. "The values our father brought us up with will be ingrained in our lifestyles forever. For a man who accomplished so much in life, his modesty and simplicity is what we cherish most. We are so blessed to have many great memories of him. Although words can't express the impact he had on us, his legacy will speak volumes."
One of the students who has benefited from Peter's contributions is Ansonia High School All State Running Back Alex Thomas, an AHS junior recruited by many Ivy League schools. Alex was also named as one of the youth of the year at the Valley YMCA. "The invest in youth program has benefited me significantly, and I am very grateful for it," said Alex Thomas. "Getting a membership to the YMCA has given me the opportunity to lift which makes me a better football player, and more importantly through football I have been given the opportunity of getting into some excellent colleges."
"Peter was so happy to have created this Fund," said his wife Tekla Vartelas. "He said that life had been good to him through his business and other endeavors. This was his way of giving back to the community, and helping to keep kids off of the streets. He was so generous to us all, with a keen sense of humor and wit that kept us all smiling. No matter how busy he was, he never missed our children's school or sporting events. He was always there for us and his beloved Valley. We will be forever proud to be his family, and will do all that we can to continue to support the Peter Vartelas invest in youth Fund."
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