First Lady Tonette Walker

De Pere Man Honored For Volunteer Work

Kristyn Allen
Thursday, June 19, 2014

Green Bay -

 A De Pere man received a surprise award Thursday from Wisconsin's first lady Tonette Walker for his volunteer work in the community. 

A crowd gathered at the Volunteer Center in Green Bay, but 84-year-old Elton Peterson had no idea it was in his honor. 

"It was a complete surprise. I had no idea anything like this was going to happen," said Peterson. 

Mrs. Walker gave Peterson the Wisconsin Heroes Award for his volunteer work. 

"This award gives me an opportunity to travel all over the state and recognize someone who has gone above and beyond to improve their community where they live," said Walker. 

Peterson has been volunteering for the past 22 years since he retired from Wisconsin Public Service. 

He is involved at the De Pere Community Center helping with the nutrition program and delivering meals.

He also has volunteered at the Red Cross giving 10,000 rides to the elderly and disabled, and helping them get to the doctor's office and other appointments. 

"Every time they would say 'I wouldn't know what I would do if it hadn't been for the Red Cross and the volunteer drivers,'" Peterson explained. 

"He probably is our longest standing volunteer that we have. We appreciate every week we get to see him. We're going to wait and hold our breath until he announces his retirement," added Tina Whetung, the program manager of transportation at the Red Cross.  

Peterson says he enjoys giving back to the community, but is unsure how long he'll continue and wants to encourage others to lend a hand. 

"We're always looking for help, so anyone who can jump in. I don't know how long I'll be able to do this," he said.