One of the most long-time members of the Perry Wellness Center family is Annie Ruth Thomas, who has worked with Pam and Stuart Perry for over ten years. Her cooking skills have benefitted the many peers and staff members who have passed through our doors.
“I have enjoyed food preparation for both the Tom Perry Wellness Center on the Plains Highway and Perry Wellness Center, here on Furlow Street,” Miss Annie Ruth reminisced. “When I began, there were only 17 peers. I cooked in a frying pan and stove oven. We have now grown to 17 clients.”
This faithful worker lives her life with obvious affection for all. At the center, she is known for her singing voice as much as her cooking, and she enjoys singing “Happy Birthday” on special days for peers and staff. Stuart Perry enjoys joining in with her for a last chorus “and many more.”
Miss Annie Ruth is quick to share her love for her job and appreciates the challenges that arise with such a large and diverse crowd. “We all must realize that bringing 71 people together six days a week is brave,” she noted. “Stuart is aware of the consistent stress of mental illness, but substance abuse is different. A peer may choose to drink or have some encounter with drugs when they leave Perry Wellness Center. When they return, it may take a while to recover and realize where they are.” But she has witnessed many recovery stories at the center and remains an optimist.
A particular challenge for Miss Annie Ruth was the change in food preparation brought about by the center’s adoption of the Whole Health Action Management (WHAM), with its emphasis on healthy eating as a part of total wellness. Over time, the kitchen staff has adapted to the needed changes, and Miss Annie Ruth has helped lead the way.
“We must all change,” she concluded. “Each day is different, but we must make each day good.”
Thank you, Annie Ruth Thomas, for helping make each day good at Perry Wellness Center.