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Bill Perry: Humanitarian of Year
A journey of giving, service for Dr. Perry
Bill Perry accepts the Humanitarian of the Year award during Tuesday's Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards banquet at the Nessmith-Lane Building on the campus of Georgia Southern University. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
Humanitarians of the Year
Dr. Bill Perry
Raybon Anderson
Kathryn Grube
Claude Howard
Charles Brown
Chris Easter
Michael Braz
John Wilson Jr.
Bruce Yawn
Audrey Campbell
David Ball
Deen Day Smith
Emory Melton
Patsy Bobo
David H. Averitt
Nolan Brown
June DiPolito
Ada W. Cooper
R. Kenny Stone
Ellis Wood
Charlotte White
    As Statesboro’s Dr. William H. “Bill” Perry took the stage Tuesday night, after having just learned he was chosen as the 2009 Statesboro Herald Human-itarian of the Year at the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards, he showed his true colors when he cracked a joke.
    “I wish my mother could be here,” he said. “She’d be the most surprised person in the room — besides me.”
    The invitation-only awards gala was held at the Georgia Southern University Nessmith-Lane Building.
    Raybon Anderson, the 2008 recipient of the award, introduced Perry.
    “A characteristic of the Statesboro Herald Humanitarian of the Year is a person whose commitments and service go above and beyond the routine,” he said. “We seek to recognize the person who has the compassion to dream, the ambition to work, the will to lead, and the strength to prevail.  These objectives fit tonight’s honoree like a glove.”
    Anderson told how Perry “made a lifetime commitment to helping others and told how he “ ... has touched the lives of many and helped guide countless Bulloch County citizens on their own journeys.
    “He has served in many capacities throughout the years in our community, including serving in a number of positions...” he said.
    Perry is a past president of the Rotary Club of Statesboro, and  served on many boards, including those of the Statesboro Regional Library,  Ogeechee Home Health Agency, and Habitat for Humanity. He has also worked  to help United Way of Southeast Georgia reach its annual financial goals — enabling them to assist scores of area service agencies, he said.
    “Never shy or bashful, tonight’s honoree helped raise a lot of money as host of the American Heart Association’s Cable-thon.  He chaired the Statesboro Bicentennial Festival of Faith as well as chairing a record-setting 2006 Georgia Southern University’s “A Day for Southern.
    “For the past three years, tonight’s honoree has walked many a mile on treks from Statesboro to the coast to raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association.”
    Perry raised $4,500 in 2007 from donations generated by his walking trip to Tybee Island; raised $7,500 last year by walking to St. Simons Island and “just this year he walked to Hilton Head Island in hopes of raising even more.
    Perry retired after 40 years of service as a minister of the gospel, most of which were spent as pastor of Statesboro’s First Baptist Church, Anderson said.  
    “How do you take the measure of a man?” he said. “He’s an avid golf enthusiast, he’s a man of wit and humor, a counselor to anyone in need of a sympathetic ear, he’s a supporter of causes great and small, he is always a friend to mankind, and he is a man of God.”
    Perry was modest in accepting the award. “This is a community of giving people and there are so many who deserve this so much more than I,” he said. “I’m just an eccentric old man who does crazy things. Thank you so much. I don’t know what to say except we love Statesboro so much and we’re honored to be here.”

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