Lower Columbia College officials Tuesday selected Richard “Dick” Peters, a former manager of the Weyerhaeuser Co.’s Longview mill and long-time community volunteer, as its 2019 Alumnus of the Year.
“He has been an amazing supporter of LCC throughout the years. His advocacy and passion for vocational programs offer valuable insights,” LCC President Chris Bailey said of Peters in a prepared statement Tuesday. “His longstanding support of the local community and LCC truly makes a difference.”
Peters, a 1950 R.A. Long High School graduate, attended LCC from 1950 to 1953. While attending the college, he drove a bus for the Longview School District, worked in a local mechanic shop and helped on his family’s dairy farm, according to an LCC press release.
After graduating from LCC, Peters continued his education at the University of Washington. He earned a degree in forestry in 1956.
From 1957 to 1958, Peters served in the U.S. Army with the 558th Missile Battalion in Europe, while also serving as a German translator and a wrestling coach, the release says. His company commander once joked that he was not sure whether Peters “works harder at working or plays harder at playing,” which lends itself to Peters’ life motto: work hard, play hard.
Peters worked for 33 years on the product side of forestry, including a 12-year stint as manager for the Longview Weyerhaeuser mill.
Peters also officiated high school and college wresting and football and served as a community volunteer with the Citizen Vocational Advisory Committee for Cowlitz County, Cowlitz Farm Forestry Association, R.A. Long Hall of Fame Committee, Cowlitz County Rural Library, Cowlitz County Septic System Advisory Committee and Lower Columbia College Feasibility Study.
Peters and his wife, Judi, have supported LCC for more than 20 years and actively attend LCC events, the release says. They established the Dick and Judi Peters Vocational Scholarship, and they also contribute to several of LCC’s other vocational and scholarship programs. They currently live west of Longview and continue to be involved with tree farming in Peters’ retirement, the release says.
Peters said vocational careers are important because vocational skills translate into business skills, providing a basic, foundational understanding of the mechanics of running a successful organization.
“With skills, anyone can do it (vocational trades). You just have to have the desire and work ethic to go with it,” Peters said in a prepared statement.
LCC will formally honor Peters as its Alumnus of the Year at this year’s LCC Foundation Horns & Halos Gala on Sept. 28.