Lifetime of caring earns once-in-a-lifetime memories

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tara Fadenrecht
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
When she answered the phone, the last person she expected to be on the other line was a representative from ABC requesting an interview.

Frenzella Bolden, 22nd Force Support Squadron child development center program assistant, learned after a few minutes on the phone that her son, Sean, had nominated her to be nationally recognized for her outstanding work as a caregiver.

Bolden started her career as a professional caregiver in 1982 when she began working at a foster care center in Wichita, Kansas.

She always knew her call was to care for others.

"That's my passion," said Bolden. "I love children."

When she was unable to have children of her own, Bolden chose adoption to start her own family.

There were six children who were already in her home when they came up for adoption. It was just a matter of letting them stay there, she said.

"They already knew me as Momma Fren," said Bolden. "Now they just call me momma."

Bolden continued to work and raise her own family as a single mother and eventually made a career transition from foster care to the child development center here, where she has been providing care for military children for over seven years.

She never took care of children to receive recognition, she does it because it's what she loves.

Bolden flew down to Orlando, Florida to be interviewed about her work in the foster care system and the adoption of her six children, but didn't know there were several surprises waiting.

The meeting between her and her daughter, Sheena, who she hadn't seen in over four years, was the first surprise.

"I was not expecting it at all," said Bolden. "That was a total surprise. There were no words. It was awesome."

The second surprise came in the middle of Bolden's scheduled interview with ABC.

Several little voices began yelling "Granny Frenny, Granny Frenny." She turned to see her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren from California.

"When they said 'Granny Frenny' I turned around and I went bananas all over again," said Bolden.

The rest of the day was spent exploring Walt Disney World with the family.

"I've never been to any place like that," she said. "That was awesome. I think I was more excited than the kids."

Bolden's  interview, including all of her surprises, aired on ABC on Christmas Day during the  "31st Annual Disney Parks Christmas Day Celebration and Parade."

Her devotion to children hasn't just been recognized by a few days of ABC coverage, it is seen every day by the people that surround her.

"She's very kindhearted and she loves kids," said Tracie Bradford, 22nd FSS CDC director. "She didn't just adopt her kids, she made them her family and her whole life."

Bolden has since returned to Kansas to continue caring for the children of Team McConnell.

"[Children] are little people that don't mind giving you love," said Bolden. "When they put their little arms around you, that to me is the biggest paycheck there is. The servicemen and women put their children in my trust and that's an awesome responsibility. I don't take it for granted."