This past Monday was a day of remembrance for Memorial Day, but it was also a day of learning at Perry Wellness Center for those peers who did not have plans for the long holiday weekend.
Regular groups were held Monday, including current events sessions. In keeping with the spirit of the day, a special presentation was arranged by staff member and former Marine Amber Rechtorovic, along with culinary head Kelly Jansen. Amber invited several local servicemen to join her for a presentation in which they shared their personal military histories.
After the assembly, the service members were invited to lunch. Former Air Force serviceman and Americus mayor Bill McGowan spent many additional hours on campus as he talked with many peers individually.
“This has been a great morning for me,” Mr. McGowan said. “My wife, Charlene, and I have visited Happy Patch Market on many occasions. The produce and prices are great.” As many times as he had been to the market, he noted that this was the first occasion that he had been “down the hill,” where he enjoyed talking with peers.
“They shared great stories about their recovery and life with me,” he explained. “I will encourage others in Americus to both visit the market and schedule a visit to the classroom. The campus is safe and fun. We see often-scorned adults having fun and working.”
In addition to the military presentation, peers enjoyed a mini-field day, with a sack race and the tossing of over a thousand water balloons. Part of the celebration might have been in appreciation of a delivery of Chase Farms corn, a long-standing market favorite.
“The weather was hot,” Perry Wellness Center founder and CEO Stuart Perry noted, “But with our call to [local radio station] WISK and posting on social media, the corn was purchased to be on the tables of many customers. I feel these customer will spread the word about our inventory.”
Stuart missed the field activities, but enjoyed seeing the overall day go well. Friendly athletic competition, inspiration by military veterans, and fresh ears of Chase Farms corn: what more could peers and staff desire for this special day?
As vans loaded peers for the ride home, the success of the day showed in the smiles on so many faces. When the last van disappeared from sight, Stuart lost no time in returning to a routine schedule of harvesting vegetables and fruits growing throughout the campus. Time and produce wait for no man.
In the photo above, Amber Rechtorovic, Bill McGowan, and Stuart Perry share their thoughts on Memorial Day with Perry Wellness Center peers.