For Stuart and Pam Perry, one of the most satisfying aspects of running Perry Wellness Center is having the opportunity to meet other professional and family caregivers and disability activities from around the state and nation. In keeping with their desire to network with others, the Perrys recently attended the Rosalynn Carter Institute’s annual GALA Awards Banquet.
Pam Perry explained: “Attending this event is always a great opportunity to meet new people from around the country who share common beliefs about caring for others. If you know anything about my husband, Stuart Perry, you know that he never meets and stranger and always makes people feel welcome in any group.”
This night of the awards banquet was no exception. While waiting for the event to begin, the Perrys struck up a conversation with an attorney from Decatur, Georgia. Victoria Collier was at the banquet with a group that was filming the evening’s events as part of a documentary. The documentary will feature such luminaries as former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Betty White.
Over the evening, Stuart and Pam shared stories with Victoria, who works today as a legal advocate for the elderly and disabled. As with many individuals who have careers in advocacy or caregiving, Victoria has had tragic experiences that shaped her life’s mission. When she was just a child, she lost her mother to suicide, instilling in her a desire to help the disabled, including those with mental illness. As her grandparents helped raise her after her mother’s death, Victoria developed an increased appreciation for the elderly.
When she became an adult, Victoria joined the Air Force, going on to serve during Desert Storm. Now she advocates for the rights of seniors citizens and the disabled and works to help older adults maintain their independence. Her credo: “Each person is an individual who deserves respect and the highest quality of life possible, regardless of age or disability.”
Stuart also shared his own story of recovery from depression and how he went on to found Perry Wellness Center. Apparently the Perrys story touched her as well. A few days after the event, a bouquet of flowers from Victoria Collier arrived at the center.
Pam thinks that Victoria is deserving of their thanks, noting, “We are the lucky ones to have met her at this event. We look forward to a new friendship and learning more about the work that she does with the elderly and disabled.” She sees people like Victoria Collier and themselves as part of a growing network of concern for others. And with each new link formed through meeting other advocates, the network will only grow.
For more information on the work that Victoria Collier is doing, go to www.elderlawgeorgia.com.
In the photo above, Stuart and Pam Perry (wearing their Spirit Week attire) display the flowers they received.