A Well Deserved Nod

In case you don’t get the newspaper, today’s issue has a full story and big picture of Cole Perry on the front of the Local section.

Many of us know his mom and dad, Kim and David Perry, who have been tireless workers in the Shelby Republican party for years.

So has Cole, however. He has helped his mom on various campaigns, made calls for candidates, attended GOP functions, lent a hand whenever it was needed. Seems his generous spirit extends to all Memphians. The article today tells of his award by the Civil Rights Museum. The Keeper of the Dream award went to Perry and some other Memphis youths who have been working hard to help the less fortunate here.

In Cole’s case he has worked with Habitat for Humanity for years. “When he was 11,” reports Jane Roberts, “Perry won a trip for two to San Francisco in a fundraiser drawing for Habitat, which offers no interest mortgages to qualified low income families who help build their new home along with volunteers. He also got a tour of the Memphis headquarters, then a dingy space on Scott Street.

“‘The children’s room was very cramped. You couldn’t fit more than five kids in there. It was not very pleasant,’ he said.

“The image stayed with him; a year later, when he was looking for an Eagle Scout project, he couldn’t stop thinking of those kids…

“Dwayne Spencer, Habitat’s executive director, likes clean, white, unmarred walls. What Perry was proposing was so far off that even if the 3-D chalk bins and interactive drawing spaces worked, it was still going to be a leap.”

A leap that worked and the kids had a nice area in which to play. But Cole didn’t stop there.

“Perry became a familiar face in the room in another way – volunteering one night a week, helping the children with homework and playing games while their parents studied in Habitat’s Financial University,” writes Roberts.

The recognition is well deserved. Perry is doing all this in the little spare time CBHS’ rigorous program allows. Obviously he has given a lot of time other kids would have used to watch TV, go to movies, shop around the mall or hang out in a selfless way.

And, his mother says he is hoping to get into Vanderbilt and working toward that goal.

When so much negative attention gets put on young people today, it’s hopeful to read about a teen doing something so right.

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