Claremore Daily Progress

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December 18, 2013

Perry helped Share the Spirit for 25 years

CLAREMORE — Mickey Perry wore many different hats over the years as a public servant and community volunteer.

One of the organizations he was involved in was Share the Spirit, which provides Christmas dinner baskets to Rogers County residents. In the summer, they send children to the Salvation Army camp for a week.

“Share the Spirit was very important to him,” said Pat Reeder, former Claremore Progress executive editor and Share the Spirit board member. “Very soon after he became (police) chief, he started helping and he helped in many different ways.”

That was 25 years ago.

“I’ve delivered the baskets to residents and helped distribute them at the distribution point,” Perry said in a 2012 Progress story. “As I became more involved, I started coordinating the goods and getting them to the distribution site. I’ve seen it grow from one or two hundred (baskets) to the high of over 1,000 a couple of years ago.”

In recent years, he served as president of the board.

“He has taken a definite leadership role in getting other towns in the county involved so their residents could receive help too,” Reeder said. “When Dorothy Clay, who was our coordinator, had to stop when her husband became ill, Mickey took it over, no questions asked, and has been actually running the program.”

It’s been a family affair for Perry, year after year, working along side his son-in-law and grandsons who volunteer to make sure other families have Christmas dinner.

Reeder said one of her favorite Share the Spirit stories over the years involved Mickey.

“An elderly lady called (the newspaper) saying she had received a sizable dividend check and wanted to give it to Share the Spirit,” Reeder remembered. “She gave us $5,000, which was a real boon back then, but she wanted it to be anonymous.”

Then, a few days before Christmas, when Perry was out delivering the baskets, he ended up with one extra and decided to take it to an elderly woman of modest means that he knew. What he didn’t know was the woman was the anonymous donor.

“When he tried to give her the food, she politely told him, ‘No, I don’t need it,’” Reeder said. “He kept insisting she take the basket, but she refused. Finally, to get rid of him, she said, ‘Why don’t you call Pat Reeder.’ We have laughed about that every year. He tried — without success — to give a basket to our biggest donor!”

Mickey’s service to his community and his heart for people will not soon be forgotten. As he said just last year about Share the Spirit, “We’re all in this together and we can make a difference for those who are struggling.”

Please consider how you can do your part to help Share the Spirit raise $24,000 to help hundreds of Rogers County residents this Christmas. The deadline is Thursday, but as in years past, donations will continue to be accepted until the goal is reached. Tax-deductible donations can be made to Share the Spirit, P.O. Box 248, Claremore, OK 74018, or dropped of at the Claremore Progress office.

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