The following letter from Mark Potter appeared in the Kingston Whig Standard today, July 22.
‘Pete’ Petersen, an honourable man
Kingston has lost one of its finest citizens with the recent passing of Don ‘Pete’ Petersen. Pete had such a positive influence on the lives of thousands of kids during his almost 60 years as the guiding force of the Knights of Columbus Basketball League. He did it for the love of others and to put a smile on a kid’s face, never for recognition, but I would like to share a secret that Pete only shared with a few close friends and family members.
In 2005, he received a letter from the Governor General of Canada indicating he had been named to the Order of Canada and was invited to Rideau Hall to be recognized with the highest honour any Canada citizen can receive for service to their fellow citizens. Remarkably, he turned it down. While he was humbled, Pete wrote back to the Governor General saying he felt his work with kids through sports was “no big deal” and “he had more fun than the kids did.” He didn’t want the “fuss” that would come with it and respectfully declined.
That one act tells you all you need to know about the man Pete was, why he did what he did, and why he is held in such high regard by all who had the privilege of knowing him. Kingston is a better place through his many acts of kindness to our youth.
Mark Potter, Kingston