Recognition for volunteer long overdue

Published 1:43 am Friday, April 26, 2013

Beaufort County has a long and proud tradition of producing excellent volunteers who work — or worked — hard for a variety of causes, projects and nonprofit organizations.


Margaret Peterson, widely known for her work with the Beaufort County Humane Society, is among that elite company. On Thursday, Peterson’s contributions to the Beaufort County Humane Society, the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility and animals in Beaufort County were recognized by the state. Peterson, during a luncheon at the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility and hosted by the Beaufort County Humane Society, was presented a North Carolina Volunteer of the Year award.


Such awards are distributed under the auspices of the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. The program was started in 1979 by the Office of the Governor.


The awards “honor the true spirit of volunteerism by recognizing individuals, groups and businesses that make a significant contribution to their community through volunteer service. Any person, group, or business from the public, non-profit and private sector may be nominated for an award,” according to the commission’s website.


Peterson truly deserves her award. She can be found working at the animal shelter almost every day, usually in her trademark “grubby” attire. After all, caring for animals and cleaning the animal shelter can get a bit messy at times.


Peterson was brought to tears as Commissioner Al Klemm read letters from state officials congratulating her and paying homage to her volunteer efforts. With the dedication displayed by Peterson as she performs those efforts, many of us should be shamed into tears because of our lack of dedication to perform similar efforts in a volunteer cause.


When it comes to volunteerism, Peterson provides a shining example that others should emulate.


It comes at no surprise that another person known for volunteer efforts nominated Peterson for her award. Dottie Walker, former director of The Blind Center in Washington, said this about why she nominated Peterson: “She’s been doing this since day one when she moved in. Her dedication to the animals, her love for the animals, it’s just outstanding. It’s not because of any other reason than she’s got this heart for the welfare of animals and that there’s such a need here, there’s such a need not just in our community, but let’s just stay focused on Beaufort County. Beaufort County has made strides in helping the animals. Why did I (nominate) Margaret? Because she deserved it. She deserved it after so many faithful years of dedicated service and just getting in there and doing the job that had to be done.”


There’s no doubt the county and most of its residents appreciate what Peterson is doing, but perhaps the animals at the animal shelter are most appreciative because her efforts help keep many of them alive so they can find new homes.