Who needs a triple or a quad when you have this duo? Bob Kojetin and Jean Pastor were recognized at the 2017 Volunteer Awards Reception, hosted by the City of Edina, for their tireless service to Braemar City of Lakes Figure Skating Club. “It was very humbling,” Pastor says.
Kathleen Gazich, the club’s co-head professional and skate school director for Braemar Arena, nominated them. “I felt it was time to get them recognized,” Gazich says, later adding, “I couldn’t nominate one without the other.”
Kojetin has been a part of Edina figure skating even before the club or arena called the city home. Before Braemar Arena opened in December 1965, Kojetin remembers hosting figure skating ice shows from 1963–1965 in Pamela Park, where the record player was perched on a heater, so the 78 rpm records wouldn’t freeze. Kojetin was the city’s assistant park and recreation director, later becoming director from 1977–1994 after Ken Rosland became the city manager.
“In retirement, he’s still engaged in the arena,” Gazich says of Kojetin. In addition to a multitude of other tasks (including clown skating in the shows until 1977), Kojetin takes on the larger job of building sets for the skating club’s annual ice show, held every April. “And we’re talking elaborate sets,” Gazich says.
Last year, Kojetin constructed a magnificent pirate ship. One year, he built a large magician’s top hat, which was placed upside down on the ice. At the start of the show, a door on the hat opened and out came the skaters. “It was really ingenious and great,” Gazich says.
Kojetin remembers another favorite show structure, a 1957 Chevy replica. “That was kind of a nice one I’d have to say,” he says, noting one of the largest facades was an airplane he constructed in the late 1970s.
“I just like to volunteer, keep busy,” Kojetin says. Once a skating show theme is chosen, usually in December, Kojetin and Pastor creatively commiserate. “Jean and I sit down and say, ‘OK, what do we want to make for the show?’” he says. “Jean really has been so helpful throughout the years.”
Along with the late Eleanor Fisher, Pastor was one of the first skating coaches when Braemar opened. “I miss her every day I walk into the rink,” Pastor says of her beloved colleague. After leaving in 1971 to pursue her career, Pastor returned in 1988 to continue coaching, which she does to this day.
In addition, Pastor misses few opportunities to volunteer for the club, including serving as an advocate for skaters, working to recognize the club’s Gold Medal, state champion, national and international skaters and designing sets for the ice show. “She’s always willing to help and lends a hand when needed,” Gazich says.
Pastor’s inspiration to continue working and volunteering with skaters is simple. “The kids,” she says. “Through the years, they’ve really stepped up the standards,” Pastor says. “The training is entirely different.”
The years haven’t tempered Pastor’s love of the sport or her commitment to the skaters. “We need to back these young people coming up,” she says.
“We need to be there for them.”
Gazich finds inspiration in Kojetin and Pastor’s commitment to service. “In this day and age, we don’t see volunteers like that,” she says, noting today’s families and parents are often pulled in too many directions. “We don’t always see that volunteer spirit.”