Christine Colley, 2016 Inductee
In 1969 Mrs. Colley had completed her education in business administration in Mainz, Germany. and she left her parents, five sisters and one brother behind to round out her professional path with an internship in wine importing in Dallas, Texas. She continued the successful career that began in Texas in California and later on in New Jersey.
In 1995 while in New Jersey, Christine received a call from a recruiter who invited her for a job opportunity with the Dial Corporation in Scottsdale, Arizona. She accepted the offer and has enjoyed her relocation to Arizona very much. The move to Fountain Hills offered her the opportunity to become involved in community activities here.
She founded the German Club of Fountain Hills in 1997. Over 50 interested guests turned out for the inaugural event. The first Oktoberfest was held in Fountain Park the following year. The German Club hosted Oktoberfest for another year, then the Fountain Hills Chamber assumed Oktoberfest responsibility for a couple of years.
After a few years of no Oktoberfest celebrations Christine, Sam Coffee and Bryan Hughes, then Parks and Recreation director with the town of Fountain Hills, brought Oktoberfest back to Fountain Park in 2007 and it’s been an annual event ever since. Oktoberfest is coordinated by non-paid volunteers. Service organizations including Four Peaks Rotary, Sister Cities Inc, Kiwanis, AMVETS and members of the local ELKS lodge 2846 participate with an opportunity to raise funds for their organizations. Over $100,000 has been raised from Oktoberfests since 2007 to support these charitable programs.
In 2004 following a call from then Mayor Sharon Morgan, Christine was instrumental in developing and fostering the Sister City relationship between Dierdorf, Germany and Fountain Hills. She hosted then Dierdorf Mayor Rosemarie Schneider and a small delegation during their first visit here.
Christine,together with local high school teachers Jennifer Ray and Lynn Truby, have developed an active student exchange program between Dierdorf and Fountain Hills.
These programs promote cross-cultural education with themed topics that students from both countries develop together. These study programs have included music, education, biological research, sports and art. Language is never an issue. German students are nearly fluent in the English language that is a study requirement there. Students learn about everyday life while living with families in their host country.
Students are responsible for their own air fare while sightseeing trips are supplemented by Sister Cities. Students return to their home countries from these with a wider horizon of cultural diversity. Dierdorf’s current Mayor, Thomas Vis, has visited Fountain Hills three times and plans to bring an adult delegation in the fall of 2016.
Fountain Hills currently has sister cities in Ataco, El Salvador, Kasterlee, Belgium, Dierdorf, Germany and the newest in Zamosc, Poland.
Early in 2014, Christine joined the planning committee for the inaugural Chinese Lantern & Folk Festival with the Universal Cultural Organization, a group that promotes friendship and an exchange of cultures between China and the United States. Christine introduced the event to Fountain Hills businesses and became the local sponsorship chair for the organization. A passion for diverse folk art and cultures prompted Christine to volunteer her time to this organization.
In 2015 Christine was honored with an invitation to accompany members of the Universal Cultural Organization, who are now friends, on an exploratory trip to China to visit with the lantern creators. A wonderful time was spent exploring sights, culture, history and foods of Chengdu and surrounding areas as well as a few days in Bangkok, Thailand. Sadly the Chinese Lantern Festival did not return to Fountain Hills.
In Christine was instrumental, along with Phyliss Kern and Sam Coffee, in bringing the July 4th celebration with fireworks back to Fountain Hills. Phyliss’ enthusiastic effort in raising the needed funds to pay for the high costs and Sam’s endless efforts to provide a safe setting makes the Fountain Hills July 4th celebration a favorite family event destination for valley residents.
In October 2015, Christine became a founding member with Sam Coffee and Denise Ricketts of Fountain Events Inc., a not for profit organization. This independent organization and its members will continue to volunteer their time and manage July 4th, Oktoberfest and the recently adopted St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Christine currently serves on the Board of Directors for Sister Cities, Inc. as Treasurer and Dierdorf Sister City Chair. She is a Council member at Trinity Lutheran Church and also the President of Fountain Events, Inc. She believes in bringing people and organizations together for good times and celebrations with a purpose. Her husband Jack enthusiastically supports Christine’s involvement in the community they both love.