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Mountain States Spotlight with Fred Davine

  • June 26, 2014

Fred Davine, a Mountain States ADL Board Member for 25 years, talks about his passion for classic cars, U.S. History, and fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry.


How are you involved with ADL? I’ve been a board member since 1989 and I participate in the Catholic-Jewish Dialogue, which I have co-chaired. I have served on the Development Committee, have been involved with No Place For Hate®, and I also co-chaired the Governor’s Holocaust Remembrance Program.

What do you do in your professional life? I’m a semi-retired businessman. The business that my partner and I co-founded in 1961, Valiant Products Corp., designs interiors and supplies furniture, fixtures and equipment to hotels nationwide.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A race car driver.

Where were you born? From where do your ancestors hail? I was born in Denver, and my ancestors hail from Russia and Poland.

What’s your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving and Passover, because they are both family-oriented.

What’s your favorite food? Fried Chicken.

Do you have a favorite book? The Grapes of Wrath, which provides an insight into America on the brink, a most trying time for so many.

What’s a special place you have visited? Israel. We were there for three weeks on a Federation (now JEWISHcolorado) mission. The achievements and the greatness of that country were so impressive to us, and this was a number of years ago.

What’s one thing every person should know or experience? An understanding and appreciation of this country. The United States is the greatest experiment in history toward the betterment of mankind! It renders freedom and opportunity unequaled anywhere in the world.

What teacher or class stands out to you the most in your education and why? My high school American History teacher. He ignited my interest in the founding, development, and leadership of the United States.

What are you passionate about personally? What can’t you stop talking about? Vintage and classic automobiles of the 30s, 40s and some 50s. I’ve been a collector and car guy since I was a teenager.

Where can we find you when you’re not working? With family, friends, or playing poker and blackjack.

What would be impossible for you to give up? In spite of so much evil, brutality, hate and divisiveness among the peoples of this planet, I cannot give up my belief in the goodness, caring and morality imbedded in humankind.

If you had to teach something, what would you teach? American history, especially Presidential.

Tell me a story that immediately pops into your mind that was a defining or significant moment for you. As a child, attending Washington Park elementary school in south Denver, I may have been the only Jewish student. I was called derogatory names, was involved in fights and first learned the impact of anti-Semitism. Of course, Wash Park has since become a popular and welcome neighborhood to all.

What is your earliest memory of ADL? During my childhood and over the years, our parents explained to my brother and to me about the existence of the organization, its work, and the need for its ongoing activities.

How did you first become involved in ADL? Larry Atler, my close friend and cousin, is an ADL National Commissioner and former Board Chair, and he was a strong influence. He consistently conveyed to me his deeply held belief that the mission and work of the ADL are vital factors in combating anti-Semitism. Larry urged me to become involved. After meeting with Barry Curtiss-Lusher and the late Norman Levy, I had the privilege in 1989 to become a board member!

Why do you choose to make a financial investment in ADL? Because I am convinced that the ADL is the strongest bulwark worldwide against anti-Semitism and hate.

As a legacy donor, why have you chosen to invest in ADL in this way? It is critically important that this organization will have the ability to continue its mission in the years ahead.

Complete this sentence: For me, ADL is … the most important and meaningful organization with which I have been associated.