Susan Peterson

She makes a plan, then she sticks to it

She makes a plan, then she sticks to it

May 18, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

DOWNSVILLE -- Susan Peterson is a bit uncomfortable with the idea of a story written solely about herself.

If it has to be done, she said, she wants to make sure the people who helped her form the Hagers-town Area YMCA Lacrosse Association (HAYLA) are mentioned.

Those partners were Erin Rafi, Sue Fahey and Mike Ewing.

When Peterson and her husband, Jim, lived in Carroll County, Md., their children played lacrosse. But when the family moved to Washington County in 2002, there were few options for the sport.

One of her children found a place to play in Smithsburg and another traveled to Frederick, Md.

"I said, 'These commutes are killing me,'" said Peterson, who lives in Downsville.

Peterson, 45, remembers when she and a friend went to St. Mary School in Hagerstown and made the pitch to start a lacrosse team. There was immediate support for the idea. Peterson and her friends had plenty of details to work out, such as field space and insurance.


The group got help from the YMCA of Hagerstown, and to honor that support included the YMCA in the organization's name.

A 12-member board runs the league and there are about 200 players, said Peterson, whose community involvement goes beyond lacrosse.

"I want to be doing something to help people," Peterson said.

She serves as secretary for the board of directors of the Washington County Historical Society and is a member of the organization's finance committee. She also serves as secretary for the board of directors for San Mar Children's Home Inc., and she is a member of the board of directors for the parent association at Saint James School.

"She's very much into trying to give back to her community," her husband said.

The Petersons have four children: Courtney, 16; Jamie, 15; and Kayla and Leah, both 12. Susan also has two stepchildren: Kevin, 25, and Kristen, 22.

The family moved to Washington County looking for a change, and they found it in a historic house at the intersection of Dam No. 4 and Shaffer roads.

The spacious two-story house was built in 1820 by Thomas Buchanan, a prominent judge in the county. The interior has unique architecture, including high ceilings that give the home a mansion-like setting.

"We were looking for this way of life," Susan Peterson said.

Q&A with Susan Peterson

Resides in: Downsville

Q: What is your proudest moment?

A: "My children are my greatest source of pride and accomplishment. For me personally, I am proud of myself any time I can get through a day truly practicing what I preach ... unfortunately rarer than I'd like to admit."

Q: Whom do you most admire, and why?

A: "My father died suddenly last spring. Joe McDonough was an honorable man. He was both loving and compassionate, as well as someone who valued personal responsibility and a strong work ethic. He took enormous pride in his faith and family, and lived by the golden rule. He is a person I greatly admired."

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have received, and who gave it to you?"

A: "I don't know who said it, but I like 'to whom much is given, much is expected.' I have been blessed in many ways and believe it is my duty to use whatever gifts/talents I have received and pay it forward in any small way. I think we are all called to do this in some way, as we all have special gifts that can help another."

Q: What is the next goal you would like to achieve?

A: "I guess my immediate goal would be to try to raise awareness of the current needs of Washington County nonprofit organizations like San Mar, Washington County Historical Society and HAYLA. Many of our nonprofits are hurting, given the current economy."

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