Pickerington Times-Sun

Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame

Peterson's volunteer efforts lead to honors

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It is not hard to locate Dorothy Peterson.

Stick around the Pickerington area long enough and you'll be sure to find her working the check-out desk at one of Pickerington Public Library's book sales, helping clients select groceries at the food pantry or perhaps over at the Senior Center, preparing carry-out dinners for shut-ins.

Peterson immerses herself in these philanthropic pursuits not for the accolades or to stay busy.

She said she simply cares about the city she calls home and wants to make it a better place.

It is for those reasons that Peterson was inducted into 38th Annual Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Martin Janis Center in Columbus Wednesday, May 15.

She is one of 11 senior citizens chosen this year to receive the honor, which is presented by the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging and sponsored by MediGold.

"Of more than 218,000 seniors living in central Ohio, these selected individuals represent older Ohioans who set an example by leading lives not defined by age," said Bethany Anderson, Public Information Director of COAAA.

"Their inspiring stories demonstrate lifelong commitments to causes, organizations and their communities," Anderson said.

"All winners are 60 years of age or older."

Peterson expressed her gratitude for the acknowledgement.

"I'm very humbled and certainly very honored to be among the people who have been recognized in the past," Peterson said.

She was nominated for the Hall of Fame by the PCMA Pickerington Food Pantry, where she has been a dedicated volunteer since 1999.

"She always has a smile and a kind word, and for those who are regulars, a hug," Anderson said.

Peterson joined a community task force in 2008 that helped reorganize the food pantry and was named "Volunteer of the Year" at the pantry's first volunteer recognition ceremony in 2010.

"Dorothy is truly an ambassador for the pantry, encouraging others to volunteer alongside her and collecting food and cash donations," said Anderson.

As a member of the Friends of the Library, Peterson has been a tireless advocate of the Pickerington Public Library, helping to raise funds through book sales to support programming.

She is also active in the Violet Township Women's League, where she coordinates the women's group that has made scarves for Special Olympics participants for the past two years.

Always interested in helping other women, especially in the area of education, Peterson is very active in the International Philanthropic Educational Organization.

"It's an organization that is interested in supporting education for women," Peterson said.

"It provides scholarships for women students going to college and women (seeking) to continue their education," she said.

Peterson has previously served on the Board of Trustees at the Pickerington Senior Center and spearheaded the publishing of four cookbook issues there.

An active member of Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church since 1999, Peterson has served as a deacon and currently participates in OWLS (Older Wiser Livelier Seniors) and the Women's Circle.

She moved to Pickerington in 1997 from Michigan after a distinguished five-decades plus career in nursing and public health that started with the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II.

Close proximity to her grandchildren was the reason she chose Pickerington, however, she quickly discovered there was something special about the area.

"I've been so impressed with the community spirit in Pickerington since I moved here," Peterson said.

"I just like to be a part of it and I like to contribute," she said.

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