When Gordon Peterson started working at the Village in August 1976, his plan was to take some time off between college years to figure out what he wanted to do in life.
Forty years later, it’s safe to say, he’s found the place he’s meant to be.
“I was only going to be here a year, but I fell in love with working here — with the staff, with the residents, and with everything the Village was about,” Gordon said. “My brother, Dan, (who worked here when I started) was the one who encouraged me to work here. He, and my wife, Donna, who started working here six months after me, were big influences on why I stayed.”
Over the years, Gordon worked in direct care, as a cottage director in Bedrock and Cloud Nine, as a case manager in Mason City, a team leader in Four Seasons cottage, and as activity coordinator. Currently, he works as a development associate.
Some of his favorite memories are celebrating client birthdays and holidays, as well as the feeling of family developed over the years.
Though many come and go, Village leadership in general has made an impact on Gordon, and he notes his relationship with Jeff Schmidt as a special source of inspiration, both through his words and writing. Schmidt, who receives Village support, lives in Garner.
“When I’m down, he always knows how to bring me back up,” Gordon said.
Gordon thinks the Village has taught him to be a better person.
“I think I’ve learned to work better with people,” he said. “I came here to hoping to help, yet everyone here has been such a blessing and I am so grateful.”