News & Stories

Donor Finds a Place He Can Make a Difference with CICOA

Pete Ritz

When a friend suggested Peter Ritz join the CICOA Foundation Board of Trustees about a decade ago, it didn’t take him long to say yes. Ritz was well aware of issues affecting the elderly. His 96-year-old dad was then living in a retirement center, and his wife’s dad had died just two years earlier.

“I saw up close and personal the need of seniors and their caregivers,” said Ritz of Westfield, who is chief financial officer of Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery in Indianapolis. “We were blessed to have the resources for dignified final years for our fathers, but I realize the special blessings we had that many people don’t. That’s where CICOA makes a difference in the community.”

Ritz’s involvement in CICOA goes deeper than serving on the Foundation Board, where he is the past chairman. He also supports Meals & More, which he said is one of the best, hands-on things that CICOA does. Ritz and his wife, Verlyn Wilson, a nurse and long-time health educator, are passionate about the importance of good nutrition.

It’s something Ritz learned at an early age. His dad founded the Tipton County Meals on Wheels program. The importance of good nutrition goes well beyond helping seniors get the fuel they need for healthy living. It also provides social interaction, from conversations between homebound seniors with the folks who deliver their meals to the friendships that form at nearly two dozen meal sites served by CICOA throughout Central Indiana. That really hit home recently, when Ritz was listening to a podcast.

“I was listening to a Ted Talk recently that ranked the top five variables that can lead to a longer life. The top variable on the list was social interaction. Nutrition was third or fourth. Meals & More provides both,” he said. “I’m just a huge fan, and I would encourage anybody to get involved at CICOA.”