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I Met a Hero Today: Josephine Peterson

Monika Griner​, our State Agency Area Consultant serving  School Nutrition Programs in Southwest Georgia shared this heartwarming encounter from the field. She titled it "I Met a Hero Today", telling the story of the resilience of Georgia School Nutrition Professionals. 

You'll wan​t to read to the end.​

"I want you to meet Ms. Josephine Peterson from Miller County School Nutrition. 

Ms. Josephine works as a Kitchen Assistant at Miller County High School, in Colquitt Ga.  Such a beautiful spirit inside and out.  Ms. Josephine is in her second career and working her way through her golden years, 76 years young to be exact, while making a difference in the lives of students in Miller County. She took such pride in her daily tasks and as we navigated the halls and classrooms, I could see true joy as she provided meals to students and teachers who called her by name.  Many spoke to her in such a fond fashion, I sensed a true connection and mutual respect among the Miller County School family.  

Covid has hit hard in many places and continues to do so as we navigate towards the end of the school year, but as I travel throughout South Georgia, I find a true sense of “let’s finish strong!” from School Nutrition personnel such as Ms. Josephine.   Strength is something Ms. Josephine certainly carries with her.  Strength to manage, lead, change, and move past loss and heartbreak. 

​​​Before becoming a School Nutrition Professional, Ms. Josephine worked for a major Electronics Company in St. Petersburg, Florida where she retired after 20 years as Supervisor of the Printed Circuit Board Division. Hello…I have no idea what that entails but based on her explanation it is a bit complicated and well above my pay grade when it comes to understanding technology.  But, after only a few minutes of talking with Ms. Josephine, I was convinced she was tech-savvy.  After her retirement, she moved back to Miller County to spend time with her mother, children, and grandchildren.  Since that time, her mother has passed and most recently, she lost a daughter very unexpectedly.  However,  she continues to work daily preparing meals where she “loves the people and especially the students.”   

Ms. Josephine does not elect to sit still and watch life pass her by, instead, she wants to embrace life and face each day with a sense of faith and determination.  She stated her most enjoyable time is now spent with her remaining daughter and grandchildren.   Pam Mock, Miller County School Nutrition Director shared, “I've known Miss Josephine for about 9 years.  She is such a pleasant person to be around.  I've yet to see a frown on her face as she greets me, coworkers, or students.  Her positive outlook about work and life in general is very admirable.  Miss Josephine continues to press on with her head high, offering encouragement and wise words to others, in-spite of tragic events she's faced this past year.  We are blessed to have Miss Josephine on our School Nutrition staff here in Miller County. “

I look forward to one day celebrating Ms. Josephine’s second retirement with folks in Miller County, but until then I find it encouraging to know I Met a Hero in Colquitt, Georgia...a shining star as sweet as Mayhaw Jelly and no less entertaining than Swamp Gravy!