This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.08/23/2023 06:45 AM
Some people simply walk it like they talk it, and Peter Scranton of Madison is certainly walking that walk. A transplant to Madison like so many who have fallen in love with the town’s beaches and charm, Peter can rightly be called a “super-volunteer” by virtue of serving on numerous boards and leading several projects in his adopted hometown.
Peter fell in love with Madison more than 20 years ago, when he and his family used the town as a convenient resting point while bringing his daughter back to college in Massachusetts.
“I bought a summer home here years ago. When I lived in New Jersey and my daughter went to Smith College, on the way home after dropping her off every September, we would stop in Madison and have a sandwich or whatever, and that’s how we found it. I just really fell in love with the area,” says Peter. “We saw this house for sale, and the next thing you know, I bought the house and eventually made it my home. I spent my youth in Milford on the beach, and so I just really loved it here. I moved up here to Madison in 2005.”
Peter says that after moving to Madison full-time as part of his extended retirement, he simply needed an outlet for his energy and naturally fell into volunteer service.
“I play golf, and everyone said, ‘Oh, now you can play golf everyday,’ but that gets old after a while,” he says. “I always thought that I could use whatever talents I had to make a difference somewhere and make a difference for people.”
It didn’t take Peter long to find multiple ways to serve Madison.
“So, I started to nose around to find things that would be beneficial to an organization and a group of people that I would fit with and that actually needed someone,” Peter says. “It started out with a friend of my partner Sher, who had a friend working at the senior center. I found out they were looking for drivers, and they asked me if I’d be interested in that. So, I said, ‘Why not?’ I started out being a substitute and then started a standard route after COVID hit us. So, every Friday, I do Meals on Wheels.”
Meanwhile, Peter was conjuring up other ways to help serve Madison. He also became involved with the Madison Ambulance Service, eventually joining its board.
“I met a lot of folks through the Madison Beach Hotel and their Grassy Strip concerts [for which Peter also volunteers], and they raise money every year for the Madison Ambulance Service. And I was talking to [Madison Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Director] Sam Deburra one day and I said, ‘I’m not a paramedic, I’m not an EMT, but how can I help you guys?’ And Sam said, ‘Why don’t you come on out board?’ And I said okay. They next thing you know I was on the board and then became president of the board.”
Peter says the ambulance service holds a special place for him because the organization is not fully funded by the town, and there are significant expenses that are required to provide this valuable service to residents.
Peter is also a volunteer and supporter of Vista Life Ventures, which is Madison’s beloved full-service support organization for area residents with disabilities.
“Out of the blue, I found myself at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Vista Ventures, and they make medical trays for hospitals. They gave us a little tour, and I was fascinated because my career had been in medical and surgical products. And then I got to know [Vista Life Innovations CEO] Helen Bosch a little bit, and so I asked her if there were any volunteer opportunities. So, I began volunteering there a few hours a week by quality-checking the trays, kind of like a QA guy. Six months later, Helen asked me if I’d like to come on the Vista board,” says Peter.
“The theme is you can’t do everything, but you can do some things that make a difference, so I was honored to become part of their organization. They do great stuff, and I really enjoy being part of that,” he adds.
Somehow, Peter also finds time to serve on the board of Madison’s Chamber of Commerce, too.
“I had always supported their activities, and so I came on board there. We have a new director now, Dawn Jackson. She is high energy, and they are looking to grow organically to do the kinds of events that bring out the community out and to support the commercial side of the town,” Peter says. “They are always looking for different ideas and different ways to reach out. We have done the Beachcomber Nights and the Sidewalk Sale, which will always continue, but there are new things that would beneficial to local merchants and give back to Madison.”
Peter says the chamber is excited about its future and looking forward to a fully revitalized downtown now that the long-awaited revitalization project is finally nearing completion.
“If you look around, there are not very many store vacancies. You do get some that come in and go out, but overall, it looks like we have a pretty thriving business community here,” says Peter. “Having the movie theater come back to life was great for the downtown merchants.”
Peter’s most cherished volunteer position is at the Madison Beach Hotel, which is close to where he lives. He is a fan and patron of the business and among a group of volunteers who help with picking up the area after the hotel’s Grassy Strip concerts during the summer.
“I love the Madison Beach Hotel. I’m a big supporter of the hotel and always have been. When they built this 12 years ago, I was quite impressed. I got to know [the general manager] John [Mathers]. He and his wife Melissa really do some incredible things for our community. We loved the place and became involved on many fronts with them,” says Peter.
“One of my favorite events is the Grassy Strip concerts,” he adds. “In order to put some good optics on the events, on Friday mornings after the Thursday nights shows, a group of us meet down at the hotel at 8 o’clock in the morning and fan out and pick trash up all along the streets. Most of it is not even from concertgoers, but we want to show the area that we’re good neighbors, and we get thanks all the time from random folks passing by.”
For Peter, it all comes down to a simple philosophy on why he chooses to give back to the community.
“I always felt that if I could, I’d like to give back. If that meant money, then I always gave what I could, and if I can donate my time, then that’s what I do,” Peter says. “You can’t do everything, but you can do some things. I worked my whole life and never really had the opportunities to volunteer like this...I just said I am going to make a difference somehow.”