Linda Peters, a co-founder of the Jay County Pregnancy Care Center, an active volunteer and a Republican Party activist, looks out the window of her rural Portland home. (The Commercial Review/Kelly Dickey)
Linda Peters, a co-founder of the Jay County Pregnancy Care Center, an active volunteer and a Republican Party activist, looks out the window of her rural Portland home. (The Commercial Review/Kelly Dickey)
Linda Peters is a woman with strong convictions.
“I go by what it says in the Bible,” she said. “My biggest regret is not doing as much for God as I should have earlier and for putting it off.”
Even if she thinks she got a late start, Peters is certainly making up for it now.
Her faith has helped her grieve during the hardest moments of her life, but it has also led her to be active in Jay County.
After spending most of her time believing she was a Democrat, she realized years ago that she was a Republican at heart.
“I thought the Democrats helped the poor, and Republicans were supposed to be rich,” she said. “I know plenty of Republicans who aren’t rich. But what changed my mind is I’m pro-life and most Democrats aren’t.”
Her pro-life stance is what prompted her to help start the Pregnancy Care Center of Jay County. After attending peaceful pro-life rallies at women’s health clinics, she realized the center would be the best way to serve young mothers.
“It was like the Lord just dropped things into our lap,” she said.
The Arkansas native now is a prominent Republican Party supporter and volunteers at the Pregnancy Care Center and a hospice based in Berne. She also served as a foster parent to three children at various times.
Volunteering has kept her busy in recent years, but hard work is nothing new to her.
The third of eight kids, Peters spent her childhood picking cotton and was the first in her family to graduate from high school.
“Sharecroppers’ daughters don’t go to college,” her father said in response to her desire to continue her education.
Upset at first, she quickly moved on after she fell in love with a man who would become her first husband and the father of three of her children.
But it also led her to a series of tragedies.
By the age of 30, her first husband left her, her 5-year-old daughter died a while after her clothes caught on fire and her second husband died six months after discovering he had lung cancer.
Years later, after she married her third husband Dave Peters and moved to Portland, she suffered the losses of a grandchild and a former foster child.
Along with her unbreakable faith, volunteering serves as an outlet for Peters and a way to cope with life’s unfairness.
“There are times maybe because I’m upset that I just simply don’t want to go in (to volunteer),” she said. “But when I get there I’m fine.”
Peters said when going through hard times, faith and prayer is what will get people through it.
She said life’s hardships have been a driving force in her strong faith. It also makes her think about what awaits in her future.
“I think about it more all the time as I get older,” she said. “I hope that I can continue to influence my family more than anything to have a faith to fall back on … You just never know what’s going to happen.”