50 Stories for 50 Years: Rufus Perry
Rufus Everette Perry is a modern-day Renaissance Man. He has a passion for travel and dining as well as helping others in a variety of ways. This is seen in his 25-year career commitment to corporate and career training at Greenville Tech, as well as the volunteerism he devoted himself to after he retired. Considering himself a “young senior citizen,” he volunteers with AARP and with the local airport, where he gets travelers excited about their journeys. An active member of his church as well, Rufus was connected to United Ministries (UM) through a former member of his congregation who worked at UM, who recommended that he join the Board of Directors in the early 2000s.
Rufus enjoyed the board, especially when he stepped into the role of Secretary, since it helped him intently pay attention to all the details of the board meetings. Even after rolling off the board, he has been an active member in the Community Relations Committee for UM. In this role, Rufus has devoted over 10 years to working with churches to show them how their mission lines up with UM and how a partnership between the two can grow.
Not one to sit still for too long, Rufus also became a tutor for UM’s Adult Education program after he retired, where he used his background as an English and Speech major to help students write essays. This was a role he thoroughly enjoyed. Rufus explains, “I often sat down with a student who wasn’t sure if they could write an essay…we would pick a subject they were excited about and extract the information about the subject to create an essay blue print, and I would suddenly see the light bulb go off within them.”
Currently, Rufus tutors when needed and is happy to step into any role that UM needs assistance with. This includes volunteering at the GED graduation that is held annually in the springtime, where he gets to interact with the students and their families. “The most special moment I have had has been seeing the pride in the eyes of the GED graduates and their friends and families. That’s a tear-jerker for me.”