Many people are unaware that Perry Wellness Center founder and CEO Stuart Perry hails from the small Marion County town of Buena Vista. But Stuart never forgets, and he enjoys opportunities to visit there. Recently he spoke to members of the Buena Vista Garden Club at its January meeting.
Stuart explained that his route to the meeting had been somewhat convoluted: “I was asked to come last year, but conflicts with the date caused me to wait. Last night, there was the Georgia-Alabama National Championship, so your leadership moved the meeting until tonight!”
Stuart’s purpose at the meeting was to share some of the background of Perry Wellness Center as well as future plans. He began with his personal story, sharing, “God presented this life-long mission to me when my father, the late Tom Perry, committed suicide in front of me when I was 21. Daddy suffered from depression. I suffer from depression, but now take medication each day to help me. Medicine and mental health research have come a long way. Thankfully, we can help those who suffer from this dread disease.” He explained that mental illness and substance abuse can be treated like heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.
“We welcome clients from seven counties in Southwest Georgia,” Stuart noted. “They are picked up and delivered to our center six days a week. We offer free breakfast and lunch and provide group sessions addressing any possible life-changing situations. We have 24 staff members and 86 peers. It is a full day on our campus, as each could bring different challenges from home.”
Stuart described the history of the vibrant campus next to the Americus historic district and Rees Park: “After the tornado in Americus [in 2007], Perry Oil Company was leveled. My family moved the oil company to a new site on Highway 280, on the Plains highway. We have taken the former oil company site, removed any contaminated soil, and made this a colorful site with our Happy Patch Market.”
Recent events and plans for the future of the steadily expanding campus were shared, and an invitation extended to garden club members.
“I invite you all to visit our market in the spring and summer to enjoy the hustle and bustle of our peers.” Stuart offered. “They are shelling peas, planting personal raised beds, and greeting customers and guests with smiles and enthusiasm. Gone are the stigma and fear of the mentally ill and substance abusing citizens. Come see us.”
After the meeting, garden club members chatted with Stuart, and several shared their interest in visiting Perry Wellness Center.
In the photo above, Stuart Perry, left chats with Buena Vista Garden Club president Kay Hagler and club members.