‘Country Woman of the Year’ and Teacher ‘Hero’ Found in New York Church

‘Country Woman of the Year’ and Teacher ‘Hero’ Found in New York Church
Country Woman magazine // Portrait of Paul Peterson, commissioned by ZiplocⓇ brand in its #MoreThanATeacher campaign.

Valley Christian Reformed Church in Binghamton, N.Y., is a congregation of about 100 members in a small community where family farms and a state park flourish. Carol DeYong and Paul Peterson are among those who call the congregation home. Both recently received recognition in different national campaigns.

Peterson, currently a technology teacher at Harpursville (N.Y.) Middle/High School, was honored as a teacher Super Hero after a former student nominated him as a teacher who made a difference in students' lives. He was one of three recognized nationally.

DeYoung was named 2018 Country Woman of the Year by Country Woman magazine after the publication selected her friend Jody Dadisman’s essay introducing DeYoung as an industrious farmer/carpenter who “believes God has made her a caretaker of this land and she continually makes improvements with the goal of leaving it better than when she found it.”

DeYoung and Peterson both share their talents with Valley CRC, where their families also worship. “One of my favorite and sometimes most challenging roles at church is helping on the Community Garden Committee,”  said DeYoung. She helps with soil testing, tilling the plots, planting, and coordinating the plot distribution. She said some plots are set aside for the food pantry, and “fresh produce is always appreciated!”

Peterson said he’s served many roles in the 20 or so years he’s been a member of Valley CRC. “I'm the local ‘Jack-of-all-trades, master of none,’” he said of serving as an elder, deacon, custodian, musician, and education program supporter. 

Peterson’s recognition included a $1,000 gift to his school and a trip to Richmond, Va., at the end of April, where a Richmond artist had created a unique portrait constructed of “artifacts that former students had sent in. Old playbills, books they stole from my classroom . . . all kinds of stuff.” Peterson’s portrait and those of two other teachers selected in ZiplocⓇ brand’s #MoreThanATeacher campaign are being used in ads to encourage teachers to continue making a difference. Peterson was sent a print as a keepsake.

DeYoung’s profile by Dadisman is featured in the June/July issue of Country Woman magazine.

Editor’s note: Thanks to Valley CRC member Terry Woodnorth who sent news of these recognitions to The Banner’s tip line. Do you have a tip to share about something extraordinary in your congregation? Let us know!

About the Author

Alissa Vernon is a news editor at The Banner.

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