Celebrating 100 years with a paddle on the Rainy River

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

On August 17, 2022 Philip ‘Pete’ Peterson celebrated his centennial birthday with a paddle on Rainy River.

While not as agile as in his younger days when he was a pilot serving for the US military in both World War II and The Korean War, with the help of Community Paramedic Bobbi Arrigo, his family and a paramedic stair chair, Peterson was able to get down the steep hill in his backyard to the river and into the kayak.

As part of the community paramedic program Arrigo does regular check-ins with Peterson and when he told her what he wanted to do to celebrate, she offered her assistance.

“I just wanted to see if I could still do it,” Peterson said of his motivation for this particular celebration. “I just needed help getting in.”

Thanks to a calm day on the river, Peterson had little trouble getting from his yard to the McIrvine boat launch and back. With his daughter, Chris Jennings, kayaking alongside him.

“It was a little nerve wracking,” Jennings said afterwards. “But he looked comfortable, so I was ok.”