Generations of young athletes, community leaders, and his fellow professionals have witnessed firsthand the selfless commitment James E. Peterson has exercised over many years in giving back to the community he loves.
He is described as a man who is first to raise his hand to give of his own time, money, and expertise to help others.
“This community has been so good to me and my practice, so part of my motivation is just to give back by being involved,” he said.
Peterson was recognized as the Citizen of the Year during the 96th Annual Awards and Installation Dinner for the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Aug. 12.
Peterson was a football coach at St. Joseph High School from 1982-2008; he also coached youth softball in Orcutt from 1987-2003.
He was a member of the Noontime Rotary, then the Breakfast Rotary Club of Santa Maria, becoming its president in 2013. He served on the board of the Boys and Girls Club, as well as its president in 1995. His accomplishments and other volunteer efforts are numerous.
He was elected to the Orcutt Union School District in 2005 where he still serves.
Professionally, he served on the board of the California Chiropractic Association, becoming state president in 1992.
Over the decades, Peterson has touched the lives of many people and helped improve the Santa Maria community in the process. While his efforts may go unnoticed by most, those who pay attention have seen a humble man make a big impact.
In a nomination letter it was noted: “Jim is a man who has never worried about getting credit, but I believe now is the time to give him credit for all he has given to our community.”