Perry family receives award for dedication to children

April 6, 2019 GMT

HUNTINGTON — Henriella Perry had an old gospel song on her mind all day Thursday — one that goes, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”

That’s because her family, the A. Michael and Henriella Perry family, was presented with the Service to Children Award by TEAM for West Virginia Children at Guyan Golf & Country Club in Huntington on Thursday evening at the nonprofit organization’s annual dinner that celebrates the recipients of the award.

The Perry family received the award for their lifelong dedication to children, both through Heritage Farm Museum & Village and their work with local organizations.

“It has been a journey — a journey of love, because of the way the people have pitched in there and helped us,” Henriella Perry said.

With Heritage Farm, the Perry family gave families in the community the opportunity to experience Appalachian culture. The family worked with the United Way of the River Cities to launch “Success by 6,” an initiative that seeks to ensure children are ready to begin kindergarten. Michael Perry was also part of an effort led by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to develop a comprehensive 10-year plan for early childhood in the state.

Audy Perry gave remarks on behalf of the family after the award was presented.

“Mom and Dad, when they moved out to the country and they discovered that little log cabin that had 200-year-old hand-hewn logs, they said, ‘Who did this, why, and how come we never learned about it?’” Audy Perry said. “And then like most passions, it got way out of hand.”

Laurie McKeown, executive director of TEAM, said the Perry family is one of the many Service to Children Award recipients honored over the past 13 years who come from all sectors — the list includes doctors, first ladies, coaches and athletes — who all have a part in the multifaceted approach that ensures children have nurturing relationships with adults in their lives.

“Our recipients of our awards reflect that diversity of ways which all of us can help promote well-being in our families,” McKeown said. “The more our kids thrive, the more our communities thrive.”

Henriella Perry said it’s not just her family’s award, it’s the whole community’s award, because the community has come out to volunteer and get excited about the history of Appalachia.

“I just feel like the community gets a big old hug,” Henriella Perry said.

She said her late husband, Michael Perry, who passed away in February 2015 at the age of 78, would likely share her remarks if he could have been present to receive the award with the rest of the family.

“He loved people,” Henriella Perry said. “He’d just be honored that they’d all come, and he’d be thrilled to pieces.”

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.