“Pay It Forward” salutes Clinton County woman’s giving spirit

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CLINTON, Iowa - It's safety  training day at Clausen Companies.

"Do you have any questions?" asked Judie Petersen, 69, the longtime safety representative there.

Safety is her inspiration at the friendly family business.

But it's her upbeat attitude that brightens each workday while improving her community.

"She makes you feel good whenever you're around her," said Cheryl Paasch, who nominated her for a "Pay It Forward" award from WQAD and Ascentra Credit Union.  "No matter how much stress you might be under at work, she's always looking at the bright side of things and does what she can to make your day better."

That explains all the excitement inside the Clinton office.  Judie's big surprise includes three generations of her family, lots of co-workers and a custom-designed cake for the occasion.

"I can't believe that they did this for me," Judie said. "Just really chokes me up because they're wonderful people, too."

Wonderful people who are very happy to "Pay It Forward."

"We notice the little things you do for us," said Cheryl.

"She's a great person," added Jennifer Naeve, Ascentra Credit Union.  "She does a lot of special things for other people."

Clausen Companies, her employer, generously doubled the prize to $600.  For the longtime volunteer, that offers even more opportunities to use the cash.

Judie volunteers at a number of groups and organizations that help kids and the environment around Clinton.

"I'm going to give the monies to those people that need it to run their events," Judie said.

Her selfless outlook and giving heart all come in a day's work.

"When they're happy, I'm happy," she said.

"She does so much for others," Cheryl concluded.  "I want her to know this doesn't go unnoticed, and that we care a lot about her and want to show her that."

At Clausen Companies, that's really something to smile about.