By Nancy Price
Rick Peyton, a former social studies teacher for Perry Township Schools, loved his job and interacting with the students. Yet he knew when it was time to retire.
“The one thing I hated about teaching was being in a building all day,” Peyton said. “If I saw a UPS guy deliver something, I always thought, I’d like to be outside.”
Although the Center Grove resident enjoys walking down the street to Dye’s Walk Country Club to play a few rounds of golf, he knew he wanted to have a balance of recreation and giving back to his community. Peyton discovered Johnson County Senior Services after learning more about the nonprofit from an acquaintance. He volunteers two days a week, delivering groceries, toiletry items or medical equipment to senior citizens who may be immobile due to health problems.
“People are usually happy to see you when you bring something they need,” he said. “I might be the only person they see all day. They say, ‘thank you’ and hug you. How much better can a job be?”
Volunteers for the Franklin-based JCSS organization also transport seniors to doctors’ appointments and deliver Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas presents during the holidays. Volunteers are always welcome.
“Think of the hours in your life that you spend doing things that really are fairly unproductive and fit those hours into something that is productive,” Peyton said. “You can do something that helps someone else’s life be a little bit better.”
When he’s not golfing, fishing or volunteering, Peyton holds a part-time job, one that he says he “thoroughly enjoys”: teaching driver’s education.
“I don’t do it for the money; I like helping kids relax,” he said. “People will ask if (training) is scary, and I say, ‘I’ve got a brake on my side, a quick foot and hand to get to the wheel.’”
For more information about Johnson County Senior Services, please visit jcseniorservices.org.
What is your greatest virtue?
Patience. I think having been a schoolteacher, it takes quite a bit to get me mad. After working with seventh graders all these years, you get used to not getting upset as much.
What upsets you?
Seeing people who are having a hard time. Seeing people who aren’t mobile when they really want to be, but they can’t because of a disability and something that impairs them from doing that.
What do you like best about Center Grove?
It’s home. I’m comfortable here, I know a lot of people, I feel safe here. It’s hard to think of living anywhere else after all these years.
What’s your favorite Southside eatery?
Lotus Garden in Greenwood. It’s been there close to 60 years. I’ve been going there since I was little.
If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be?
Speedway. I could walk to the Indy 500 race.
If you could begin life over, what would you change?
It’s hard for me to think of something. Obviously, there are things when you look back on your life. I can’t think of anything big.
If money were no issue, how would you spend it?
I have everything I really want. I guess maybe do some good in the community and in my surroundings. The happiest day of my vacation is when I come back. When I get home, I can get my newspaper, get my coffee and get in my chair.
What makes you happiest?
When I can do what I want to do when I want to do it. I don’t really have any time boundaries on me anymore. Being able to push golf clubs, if I want to volunteer and work more and not have a time clock and be somewhere at a certain time.
Pick three adjectives that best describe you.
Focused, grateful and unpretentious
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Anna Maria Island in Florida. I think it’s the most beautiful beach that I’ve been to. It’s not commercialized. It’s all family-owned businesses. They don’t allow chains on that island. I like that.
What do you do with idle time?
Play golf at Dye’s Walk Country Club or fish in Cordry Sweetwater Lakes.
What would you change about our culture if you could?
I’d like for all people to be more open-minded about things.
How do you escape from reality?
I read a lot of different things: nonfiction and fiction. I read a lot of biographies and mysteries. John Grisham is one of my favorite authors for fiction.
What do you love most in life?
I love my family.
Which living person in Center Grove do you most admire?
My wife. She loves me unconditionally.
What quality do you admire most in another person?
What is your greatest extravagance?
We have a lake house; that’s probably our main one.
What is your greatest fear?
That I wouldn’t be able to help my family.
What has been the happiest time of your life?
When our son was born. He’s 25. I taught and I love teaching. Being able to be a schoolteacher and that was the same time our son was born, too. Teaching was a good choice, I think.
Is there a special talent you really wish you had?
I wish I was a better golf but I think any golfer would tell you that. And I have no musical ability either. If I sing, I want to do it quietly.
What do you most value in your friends?
Which historical figure do you most admire?
FDR. He overcame tremendous adversity with his disabilities and he led our country during some of the hardest times.
What tenet do you live by?
Treat others like you’d like to be treated.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
That I started my working career as a disc jockey right out of college. It was at a little station in Connersville.