Three things have kept Donna Peterson at Opportunity Village for 40 years — God, family, and service.
Peterson celebrated her 40th anniversary with the Village on Jan. 3. A certified nursing assistant before working here, she decided on a Thanksgiving visit to Iowa in 1976 to visit now-husband Gordon (who marked his 40th anniversary with the Village last year) that she would move here and eventually was hired at the Village.
Currently a supported community living supervisor for Region 3, she started in crafts before moving to Morning Sun cottage in Clear Lake. She eventually transferred to work in Executive and Moon Valley cottages, followed by the Ralph Schroeder Group Home. She also spent seven years working in the Kinney Lindstrom Center kitchen before moving back to supported community living.
Forty years have provided many memories for Peterson, and some of the best are those that make her laugh or smile to herself, she said, as well as knowing she made an impact on the lives of individuals who loved unconditionally.
Among co-workers who left a lasting impact on Peterson was Vicky Clark, who mentored her when she first started working at the Village.
“Staff who you know are here for the people we support — you can tell by their attitude and actions,” Peterson said. “After working with such a diverse group of people, you spend time gleaning the good attributes and discarding the bad. In the end, being able to say I did my best to serve those I work for — hopefully I made their lives a little bit better.”