GREENFIELD — Two of the most prominent community servants in Greenfield were recently awarded the Golden Hoosier Award at the Indiana Statehouse in downtown Indianapolis.
Bob Wortman and Jim Peters were among seven Hoosiers honored by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch in the Statehouse rotunda Sept. 26.
According to Crouch, the Golden Hoosier Award is the highest honor bestowed on a senior citizen in Indiana. It was established to acknowledge and recognize outstanding seniors for their lifetime of service to their communities, sponsored by the lieutenant governor in partnership with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.
While both humble, Wortman and Peters have made a name for themselves with a lifetime of service to the local community.
“Bob Wortman has filled dozens of volunteer roles and spearheaded countless projects to serve his community,” said Mary Gibble, president of the Community Foundation of Hancock County and one of two people to nominate Wortman for the award.
In her nomination, Gibble shared that Wortman has a history of sharing his wealth with others, having established several foundations in Hancock and Shelby counties.
In Hancock County, he established the Wortman Family Literacy Fund for Hancock County Children, the Wortman Family Foundation Endowment, the Robert and Sue Wortman Family Fund, and the Fountaintown Gas Company, Inc. Scholarship Endowment, all of which provide grants on an annual basis.
Perhaps most notably, Wortman led the fundraising and support for two medical centers honoring his wife — The Sue Ann Wortman Nephrology Center in Shelby County and the Sue Ann Wortman Cancer Center in Hancock County.
He serves on the Hancock Health Foundation Board of Directors, providing guidance for strategic planning as well as day-to-day work like fundraising.
“He’s always there to give advice or provide advocacy on behalf of the foundation,” said the foundation’s executive director, Allyson Smith, who also nominated Wortman for the Golden Hoosier Award.
Wortman is no stranger to receiving accolades for his lifetime of service.
The former Marine and Korea War veteran has been awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash and the Distinguished Hoosier award and has received the highest awards for community service from both the Masonic Lodge and the Scottish Rite.
A local historian even wrote a book about him, “Giving Back and Moving Forward,” documenting his eventful life.
Wortman founded the highly successful Fountaintown Gas Co. in 1967, but Gibble said he attributes his success in life to others. “I’d be nothing without the people of my community,” she quoted him as saying. “They’ve done so much for my family and my business over the years.”
Friends say Jim Peters has shown the same quiet humility throughout a lifetime of serving others.
“Jim Peters has been and continues to be an amazing community servant,” said Katie Ottinger, who nominated him for the Golden Hoosier Award.
“He is tirelessly involved in so many things in the community, and his admirers say they can’t imagine their community without him,” shared Ottinger, Community Investment & Grants Officer for the Community Foundation Hancock County.
Peters served as executive director for Love INC of Greater Hancock County for several years, and continues to serve his community in retirement.
One of his biggest commitments is to the Hancock County COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster), for which he puts in place disaster response and recovery plans, then organizes exercises with community officials to practice those plans should they ever need to be put into action.
Peters also spends many hours volunteering in the COAD warming shelters, helping anyone without safe and adequate heat during the cold months.
“He will not hesitate to provide hands-on assistance to someone in need,” Ottinger shared in her nomination form.
Peters served over 10 years with the Salvation Army of Hancock County, and continues to assist with the Red Kettle campaign at the holidays. He also helped with the formation of several Hancock County nonprofits, including the Character Council, Hancock 1Kids, and Hands of Hope Communities.
“He is an amazing person who is so involved in a hands-on fashion. He is a true public servant and community visionary,” Ottinger said.