They say it takes a village to raise a child, well according to Lindsay Peters, Director of Marketing and Development at Eaton Rapids Medical Center, the city of Eaton Rapids gave her everything she could have asked for growing up and now she is doing her best to give back. Born and raised in Eaton Rapids, Peters traveled to Ferris State University for college only to return years later to find her first job with the Eaton Rapids Medical Center and plant her roots back in the community. “This is my home. I was born here and lived here my whole life. I did leave to go to Ferris and earned a bachelor in business administration and a minor in marketing. After college I came back and got my first job right here. It was perfect,” Peters said. “I was the marketing intern here (Eaton Rapids Medical Center) for years and when my predecessor left for another job, I stepped right in soon after I graduated.” Although Peters had worked with the team at the Eaton Rapids Medical Center for years as a volunteer during high school and college, it was a different challenge learning the ropes as an employee. Peters’ infectious positive attitude and determination helped her adjust quickly and become a valued member of the Eaton Rapids Medical Center team. “They don’t teach you in school how to fundraise or lead in a foundation. I had to learn by doing it. There were always people willing to help but it really fell on me to figure a lot of it out. It was worth it, I love it here. The best part about working here is that everyone likes their job. Everyone wants to help you,” said Peters. Once Peters settled into her role she hit the ground running. She wasted no time getting involved, absorbing as much information as possible and working to better the organization as a whole in any way possible. “It is easy to market something I care about. If you believe in what you’re selling it just starts to work. We are here to inspire, serve and care! What I really get to do is raise money for the Eaton Rapids Medical Center Foundation, which invests in the health of the community. It’s easy to believe in that. And on top of all that they allow me to be flexible and support all the other work I do in the community,” Peters said. Tim Johnson, President and CEO of the Eaton Rapids Medical Center shared his thoughts on what separates Peters from others her age. He said he admires her drive and dedication to the community. “Lindsay’s work ethic and drive are amazing. She isn’t afraid of hard work. She isn’t just part of the organization, she gets involved. She doesn’t just pay dues in different clubs, she gives everything she can to them,” Johnson said. “ A lot of people in Lindsay’s generation join clubs and organizations to give them an edge in the job market, Lindsay does it because she genuinely cares. She really wants to help the community.” Peters is motivated by her love for the community and utilizes her education and specialized skills to do everything she can to promote worthwhile events and organizations, even ones she isn’t “technically” part of. “I love marketing, and I use my skill set to share all the great things that are happening in Eaton Rapids. Many people might not think of marketing as a fulfilling profession, but I love it,” said Peters “It is awesome to brag about the heroes who work here. Raising funds for the hospital is gratifying too. Asking for money can be a very difficult and uncomfortable job, but not if you believe in your work. I feel the same way about the organizations I am part of. Even ones I’m not part of, I try to promote because there are great people out there doing great things and they deserve credit.” Peters herself is involved in numerous organizations within the community including Eaton Rapids Public Schools, Board of Education, Eaton Rapids Rotary Club, Eaton Rapids Marketing Alliance, Eaton Rapids Urban Air, Wildside Rehabilitation Center, Women Working Wonders, Eaton Rapids Fourth of July Committee, Eaton Rapids Medical Center Auxiliary, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, American Red Cross and several more. That long list is part of the reason Peters was nominated and chosen for the 2014 Caring About Women Locally Award. The award, which has been given annually at the CAWLM 80s Flashback Fundraiser, honors a woman who goes above and beyond for other women in the community. Peters accepted the award on Saturday, March 22 at the 80s event held at the University Club in Lansing. Despite all her hard work, time and dedication Peters would rather focus the spotlight on the organizations she serves instead of having it pointed at her. She believes volunteering and getting involved is something everyone should do whether it be financially or physically. “I still don’t feel like I am deserving of the cover story. Put an owl from the Wildside Rehabilitation Center on the cover or something. The headline can be ‘Give a hoot’,” Peters said. “I am not doing all this service work for the recognition, it is something I just believe you should do. One of the reasons I am involved so much is because I don’t have a lot of money and that is why I do a lot of things. I want to give back and help and since I can’t do it financially I do it by volunteering, helping at events and helping to raise money.” It makes sense that Peters is so dedicated to giving back; the spirit of generosity runs deep in her blood. Many members of Peters’ family have made a name for themselves in the community by doing just what Peters is doing today. “My grandpa took me with him to deliver Meals on Wheels to the elderly every summer I was in middle school and high school. It wasn’t a chore,” said Peters.“Many times, delivering meals is the only interaction these folks have all day. It was an opportunity to check on them, say ‘hello’ and see if they needed anything. My grandpa does so much for the community. He is my mentor and he has truly opened up my world. I am so fortunate to have wonderful grandparents, parents and husband. My support system is tremendous.” Peters doesn’t think her time spent giving back is extraordinary, she admits she gets just as much from it as she gives. “Volunteering is like therapy. You get so much from it. It makes you feel good. Spending time at Wildside Rehabilitation Center is my therapy,” said Peters. “I mean you get to feed the baby squirrels. How can you be stressed when you doing that?” Finding balance between her job, her personal life and her volunteer work has never been an issue for Peters. She keeps it simple by stating, “Everyone has time to give back. You just have to do it.” “My motto is work hard, play hard and give back. Don’t get me wrong. I am busy, but I still make time to watch my nieces, walk my dogs and go golfing, camping and kayaking,” Peters said. “Everyone has time to give back, you just have to do it. If you have kids, take them with you and teach them why getting involved in the community is important. It gives you a sense of pride and ownership in your community and a deep sense of appreciation for all that is available for you. That is what got me started.” Peters believes part of getting others to get involved is helping them find a way in which they can help. “Everyone can use their talents and skills to give back to the community. You just have to think differently about how you can help an organization. I can’t give blood, but I have been organizing blood drives since 2009. You can read to children, construct sets for the drama class play, sew quilts for cancer patients, anything really,” said Peters. Peters concludes that above anything else, volunteering, getting involved and giving so much of herself to the community has given her more than she could ever give back. “It’s taught me what I am capable of,” Peters said. “It’s brought me out of myself. I feel more confident. I learned a lot about myself. I learned that if you are passionate about something you’re gonna go for it.”
Ami Iceman-Hauter is the Brand Manager at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. Iceman is a graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelors degree in creative advertising.