PERKINS, Okla. (KFOR) — You may have heard the saying “It takes a village,” but in one small Oklahoma town there is one particular woman who this village says cannot be replaced. She is one of the strongest pillars of the community and works quietly but mightily behind the scenes.

Amy Petermann is not employed by the school or the city.

“I was able to write some grants and work with ODOT on getting some sidewalks here at the school,” she said.

The sidewalks will not only connect the school, but also the community. More than a mile and a half of paved walkways will provide access for citizens and students to the town’s food and clothing pantry, city park, library and schools. Like many districts, a bus driver shortage forced the school to eliminate the town bus route, meaning students who live within a mile of the school must find their own transportation or walk. Thanks to Amy, that will soon change.

“They won’t have to walk in the streets to get to school,” teacher Tarissa McChristain said.

Through her nonprofit called “4 Kids and Community,” Amy writes grants for the city, provides community meals to the hungry, and makes sure all students and teachers have the supplies and snacks they need. That is why Amy was nominated for Pay It 4Ward not only by Tarissa McChristian but also by the city mayor, Carla Cummings.

“When I got into the city office of mayor, I discovered what all she was doing in the background for the city that nobody even knows about,” Cummings said.

“Everyone appreciates you, and we just wanted you to know how much we love you and appreciate everything you do for us like the snack bags, the supplies and the grants that you write,” McChristian said.

“This city loves you,” Cummings said. “The school loves you. All of our schools love you. We see you. We see what you do, and we see your heart.”

Along with First Fidelity Bank and a gym full of third, fourth and fifth graders who wrote thank you notes to Amy, we pay it forward.

“News 4 is here so we can present you with four hundred dollars, so we’d like to give this to you now. We appreciate you,” McChristian said.

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Pay it 4Ward

“I do what I do, because God gave me this wonderful program to do, and I just saw the need here in the schools and in the community, and I just do what I do to make this place a better place,” Petermann said.

And she does by connecting, serving and loving her community.

“The biggest blessing that you can ever imagine,” Cummings said. “From the city and from the school, we just love her.”