Friday, February 17, 2012

TOP STORY >> Wellness center to roast local legislator

Leader staff writer

It’ll be an evening full of laughs as state Rep. Mark Perry (D-Jacksonville) will be in the hot seat at 7 p.m. Thursday during the Jacksonville Senior Wellness and Activity Center’s 17th annual roast and toast.

Perry will be roasted by his younger brother, Scott Perry, of Choctaw; their father, Jurdon “Bud” Perry of Sherwood and friend Bob Johnson. Phillip Carlisle will be the master of ceremonies.

Tickets are $35 per person or $280 for a table of eight. They can be purchased at the senior center or by calling 501-982-7531. The roast and toast is the major fundraiser for the Jacksonville Senior Wellness and Activity Center.

Last year’s roast and toast raised $10,000.

The center provides seniors with a wide range of exercise and mental health programs to help older adults continue to be active. The center serves hot lunches during the week and provides transportation for seniors.

Perry and his wife, Valerie, have been married for 20 years. They have three children, Logan, 19, Blake, 15, and 12-year-old Emilee. Perry, a Modern Woodmen financial representative, has been in the insurance business for 25 years.

Perry is in his second term as a state representative.

He has been a community leader in Jacksonville for many years, serving on the planning commission and as a former president of the chamber of commerce. He is a member of the Jacksonville Rotary Club, the Sertoma Club and the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council.

Perry has long been involved with youth sports. He coached the Sertoma football team and Jacksonville Youth league baseball and softball teams. He and Phillip Carlisle also coach trapshooting for Jacksonville youth.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a fun time with a few jabs,” Perry said of the roast.

His father said, “I will start out from the night he was born to the present. I have a few nice things to say.”

“He was rambunctious and had a lot of energy. He was very active and was a good athlete.”

“Mark hasn’t changed a lot. He was always a real good kid, at least that I know of. He was kind of a daredevil, I’ve got a good one on that,” his father said.

Scott Perry said, “I’m very excited about the roast. He’s my big brother, and he turned 50. I looked up to him. He taught me how to play basketball and to water ski, even barefootin’. I’ve got a lot of good stories.”

Scott Perry said he, Mark and their dad often went to the Southwest Conference basketball tournament at Reunion Arena in Dallas. They have some really good memories of those days.

“I’m excited to hear what friends and family have to say. Mark is a real jokester. He is a funny guy and likes to have a good time,” Valerie Perry said.