Frankfort Mayor Judy Sheets awarded a local volunteer and event organizer with the ‘Frankfort Diamond of Excellence’ award for her outstanding work in the community.

Sheets announced at the State of the City address on Monday evening that MaryLynn Peter was selected by city leaders as the ideal recipient of the Diamond of Excellence award that recognizes community members who continuously strive to encourage community engagement and volunteering.

“The City of Frankfort Diamond of Excellence Award is given to a community member whose life is a shining example of service to this community. This award is designed to inspire others to make a difference in Frankfort in volunteering, championing community engagement and supporting local organizations and businesses,” said Sheets. “MaryLynn Peter is hereby recognized as a Frankfort Diamond of Excellence.”

Sheets continued to comment that Peter dedicated numerous hours to events such as the window painting in downtown Frankfort, the downtown farmers market and the tree lighting festival over the past few years, which has stirred up community support and engagement across the Frankfort community.

“MaryLynn has committed countless hours to bring awareness to the local artists of our community. She has worked tirelessly to bring back vibrant community events in the downtown area. That includes the farmers market and the tree lighting ceremony,” said Sheets. “Her ideas are innovative and bring community engagement to Frankfort. The City of Frankfort is a better place because of MaryLynn Peter.”

Peter accepted the award with a smile but focused heavily on the community that supported her throughout her events. Peter expressed that while she implemented the various ideas in the community, the community engagement drove the events to be successful.

“I had an idea just sitting at home, and it’s because of everyone participating is what made it great. It was all a big thing. It wasn’t just me,” said Peter. “I had the idea, but everyone else embraced it.”

Peter continued to explain that receiving the award was a humbling and exciting experience, but she expressed that the community should be awarded the same recognition for every community member’s engagement with the events that she created and reimplemented.

“It doesn’t grow unless everyone gets involved, and everyone is getting involved. That’s all that matters to me,” said Peter. “It’s exciting. I’m proud.”

Peter commented that her work with event organization in Frankfort began with the idea of encouraging window painting downtown, which appeared to be a welcomed attraction during the Christmas season last year and developed into the revival of the farmers market and the debut of the tree lighting ceremony last year.

“We started out with the window paintings. We did that a long time ago, and that stuff continued,” said Peter. “Then, we started the farmers market, and that’s grown … and then the tree lighting festival was something new, and it was fun. We had a lot of participation, and I think everyone enjoyed it. We’ll do it again.”

Peter proposed another event that she aspires to implement in the downtown area, the Taste of Frankfort. Peter described the event as an opportunity for local cooks, bakers and chefs to showcase their culinary talents for the community to explore in a way reminiscent of the Taste of Lafayette event in Tippecanoe County.

“I would like to get with some people and maybe get that going because we have so many great cooks and catering and restaurants, and it would be great to have it somewhere, maybe 51 West,” said Peter. “That’s something that I’d like to try.”

Sheets concluded her comments by expressing gratitude toward Peter for her tireless work in the community and highlighted that community engagement has begun to skyrocket since the events were constructed.

“I thank you for all you have done for this community. I know how much you love the community. You’re passionate about it. When we were trying to decide what we were going to do and pick someone, right away you popped up in our mind for all the things you’ve done,” said Sheets. “I’m really excited for the farmer’s market. Thank you for bringing that back, and I know that you have a great love for artists and musicians in this community, so I thank you for that as well. Hopefully, you will inspire others to do great things for our community.”

Peter encouraged the community to visit the downtown farmers market this Saturday, March 4 at the Bankable Building at 407 N. Main St. from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to peruse handmade goods from local merchants.