GREENFIELD — Love INC of Greater Hancock County has tapped Jim Peters, a local longtime community service volunteer and businessman, as its new executive director.
The organization made public Peters’ selection this week after Brenda Rodgers, who led Love INC from its inception in 2004, announced her intention to step down as executive director this spring.
Peters and his wife, Jan, have lived in Hancock County since 1991, and he has served in a variety of service and volunteer positions.
He currently serves as the disaster recovery chairman for Salvation Army Hancock County and volunteer chairman of Hancock Communities Organized Active in Disaster, a community-based coalition that responds to local crises.
Peters also served on the Salvation Army’s advisory board for Hancock County as well as several other civic organizations.
It was that connection to the community that set him apart.
“Jim has experience on his side and very good connections in the community,” said Love INC board member Phil Miller.
“Additionally, he’s a good, solid Christian, and that is important to us. And he’s very businesslike.”
Miller said Peters’ business background was a strong factor in his selection for the position.
Peters currently owns a business management consulting firm; however, Love INC will become his full focus.
“I’ve been running my consulting business, and that beats my tired, old body down the road,” Peters said Wednesday. “My wife and I thought this would allow me to step away from the consulting business and stay around here close to home and use some of the contacts I’ve had the pleasure of creating for 20 years or so.”
Love INC of Greater Hancock County is the local branch of a national non-profit organization founded in 1977 that connects the resources of churches and community organizations at the local level with those in need.
Locally, the group interacts regularly with about 45 county churches and their ministries and operates a telephone clearinghouse that takes calls from families and individuals who need assistance and connects them with the local resources available from community churches and agencies.
The local affiliate also coordinates church volunteer resources and oversees area gap ministries that provide furniture, bedding, appliances and shoes.
Peters said his work with the Salvation Army gives him a solid base to pull from as he settles into his role with Love INC.
“There’s a lot of good synergy with the Salvation Army and COAD because of their relation to the churches, businesses and non-profits in the county,” Peters said.
Peters hopes to bring more county business support to Love INC’s effort, but he’s staying fairly close to home.
“There’s a lot to learn to start with, and that’s where I’ve been focused,” he said. “I hope I learn a lot from Brenda Rodgers and then continue to build on the great foundation that she has built with the years that she’s been here.”
In January, Rodgers said she believed she had completed what she had been called to do and felt the time was right to hand over the reins to an organization she helped build from the ground up.
“We love what Brenda has done, and as little as I want to see her leave,” Miller said, “I give her credit for being able to step back and be able to see the big picture.”
Regardless of who leads the organization, Peters said, its relevance in helping county residents who need it most will always be there.
“The needs are always with us,” Peters said. “Sometimes, how we reach people to meet those needs changes with our society.”