Jefferson Award Winner Ann Gronbeck Peterson says time is precious

Pills, prayer and physical activity…that’s what doctors told Ann Gronbeck Peterson she needed to focus on.

Nine years ago, Ann had a heart attack. Doctors said she had an unfixable heart. They gave her five to ten years to live.

"We’re all gifted with time talent and treasure and some of us have more or less of each of those categories and time is the most precious thing for me so put
it to good use," said Peterson.

Ann put her time to good use long before she was told to value time.  She served as a Girl Scout leader for 17 years guiding endless numbers of area kids through scouting.

"The children need that. They all get their video games, the sports, their normal socialization through school, but they get experiences that are unique and they get skills that they wouldn’t get elsewhere," said Peterson.

She was also a part of building Kids Coulee, a unique play area, one of the first in the country to challenge children of all abilities. Her favorite accomplishment, though, is the Kane Street Garden.  Today, the garden feeds thousands of La Crosse families.

"I remember one gentlemen went on to be a regular volunteer there-turned his life around. So when people get involved in things they make real changes in life," said Ann.

Although Ann does not have quite the same amount of energy she had before the heart attack, she still gives what she can and says that is an important lesson.

"There’s been times when I couldn’t do what I wanted to do and give the way I wanted to give, but I was able to do a little thing and that little thing was enough but someone would say, ‘no that little thing was just what I needed’," said Ann.

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