Civitan coolerWhat began as an invitation for Perry Wellness Center founder Stuart Perry to speak to a local civic group became an opportunity for both generosity and gratitude, and ended with the delivery and installation of a state-of-the-art commercial cooler/freezer.

The Americus Civitan Club, with which Perry Wellness Center has shared a long community partnership, recently asked Stuart to speak to the group. The recovery center leader enthusiastically shared information about the organization’s progress in meeting mental health and substance needs of individuals in Southwest Georgia.

Explained Stuart, “We have a different way of meeting needs in our rural, demographic area. We are excited with the growing acceptance of our mission.”

In discussing future plans, Stuart told the Civitans of his desire to have a large on-site cooler/freezer at Rudy’s Happy Patch Market, in order to better manage the growing produce inventory there.

Stuart’s story of hope and progress had an impact on the local civic group, as did his request for assistance. At the next board meeting of the Americus Civitan Club, discussion arose about meeting the need for increased cold storage at the market. First, a suggestion was made to donate $1000 toward the effort. Another member suggested $2000, followed by a recommendation to offer $10,000 or half the cost of the desired unit. By the time the board meeting ended, a proposal was made and accepted to underwrite the total expense of a refrigeration unit.

Civitan member Dale Davis, now retired after 41 years of technician service and management with Parker Heating and Air, was the logical choice to coordinate the purchase of the cooling unit. A network of produce and service providers of the needed equipment was formed, leading to the purchase of a unit from Johnston Supply.

“After appeal from Southwest Coolers of Lithonia Springs, Georgia for our project and required local dealership affiliation, the installed price for the unit was about $24,000,” Davis noted. “This unit cost nearly $35,000 or more with usual networking. It was a great savings with partnership for the project.”

The long-contemplated project is now a reality. Recently, the new unit was delivered, and the largest portion of assembly was completed in less than four hours.  Soon after the final unit wall was finished, refrigeration and wiring plans were begun. 

“I have done installation of more than 20 of these units in one month,” Davis reflected. But Davis didn’t act alone, he explained: “There were many others along the way who helped to complete this project. Some on this local team had prior experience with refrigeration and offered their own skills to help us. This has been a team project!

“I do appreciate my Civitan friends and other volunteers who gave us a day of help with this installation,” Davis continued. “It was hot, but we all persevered and worked together to complete this installation. With the grace of God and the good help we received at Perry Wellness Center, the unit will soon cool and freeze the expected increase of product production and distribution at Perry Wellness Center.”

Dale Davis expressed pride and satisfaction in the project outcome: “This kind of community work is what the Americus Civitan Club is all about. I am thankful to Stuart for asking us to help and for the Civitans’ excitement in completing this job.”

Perry Wellness Center is planning a fall dedication and appreciation day later this year in order to honor the Americus Civitan Club. In the meantime, Stuart invites current and former club members to stop by and visit the campus at 302 East Furlow Street in historic Americus.

“It has been another great day at Perry Wellness Center, and to see this new cooler/freezer is a dream come true,” Stuart concluded. “The Civitans are all about helping others. They have helped many citizens with this donation.”

Taking a celebratory break as completion of the cooler/freezer installation nears are, left to right: Barry Smith, Allen Carson, peer Awan Smith, Ronnie Bryan, Jantwan Twiggs, Dale Davis, Stuart Perry, market manager Phyllis Smith, Corbett Howell, and Jeff Williams.

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