Five prominent community members honored by PHPC

Perry Historic Preservation Committee honors Hensen, Ruggle, South, Vodenik and Glass with annual award.

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The Perry Historic Preservation Committee awarded their annual honors Saturday to, from left, Louie Hensen, Larry Vodenik, Tom South and, in wheelchair, Joe Ruggle. A fifth award was posthumously presented to John Glass.

Joe Ruggle, Larry Vodenik, Louie Hensen, Tom South and John Glass (posthumously) were named recipients of the Perry Historic Preservation Committee’s annual service awards during a Saturday ceremony at the Spring Valley Retirement Community.

After brief remarks from Maureen Haglund of Spring Valley and PHPC chairperson Jeanette Peddicord, Gary D. Martin presented the first award to Ruggle.

Ruggle graduated from St. Patrick’s High School in Perry. He entered the army and served in World War II as a member of General Douglas MacArthur’s honor guard.

Martin spoke of Ruggle’s work ethic, which included many years as a milk man, which, he said “let Joe get to know the area and just about everybody living in it.”

He spent many years helping document Perry’s history and volunteered for numerous causes, perhaps most notably serving for many years as a delivery driver for the Meals on Wheels program.

Rhonda Onken presented fellow PHPC member Larry Vodenik, who she called “Mr. Perry History.”

A lifelong Perry resident, Vodenik is well known for his devotion to preserving the history of the city. Among his many volunteer credits are memberships in the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs as well as his active involvement with the Perry Area Chamber of Commerce, the BRR Committee, the Fireworks Committe and the PHPC among others.

The awards presented by the Perry Historic Preservation Commission, representing untold hours of effort on behalf of the community.
The awards presented by the Perry Historic Preservation Commission, representing untold hours of effort on behalf of the community.

John Glass was posthumously honored by old friend Joe McCarty, who recalled meeting Glass “not that long ago” when both were in elementary school.

Glass graduated from St. Patrick’s High School in 1965 and remained in the community, where he had a long career as a building contractor. Well-known for his participation in many local activities, Glass was involved with the Perry Playhouse Performers Group, the Carnegie Library Museum Board and Habitat for Humanity while also serving on the City of Perry Planning and Zoning Commission.

A devoted promoter of activities for children, Glass was heavily involved in the first “Kids Day” held in downtown Perry, an event which will now carry his name.

Perry Volunteer Fire Department Chief Chris Hinds, on behalf of Judy Marckres, presented Hensen with his award.

Hensen owned the Perry Sales Pavilion for many years and was very active with Violet Hill Cemetery, where he kept accurate lot records, helped with mowing and was instrumental in planting trees in the St. Patrick’s Catholic Section of the cemetery. So important and active were his efforts as groundskeeper for St. Patrick’s parish that it has required numerous individuals to replace him.

Longtime Perry High School educator Tom South was inducted by former student John Palmer, who, noting South's long tenure at PHS, brought along items both he and his son had made under South's tutelage in his "hard-grading shop class."
Longtime Perry High School educator Tom South was inducted by former student John Palmer, who, noting South’s long tenure at PHS, brought along items both he and his son had made under South’s tutelage in his “hard-grading shop class.”

John Palmer took obvious pleasure in honoring South, who for 32 years served in the Perry Community Schools as Technology and Industrial Coordinator.

Palmer brought along a fruit bowl he had made in South’s class, as well as a cutting board his own son had made, also under South’s instruction.

“Look at this,” Palmer joked, holding up the small cutting board. “He gave my son a ‘B+’ on this and I think I got a ‘D’ on my project (which he then held up). Obviously he (South) graded a little softer as the years went by.”

South started the VICA program at PHS, which gave students personal experience in the business community. He volunteered many hours to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and local Masonic Lodge.

Members of the Perry Historical Preservation Commission include Peddicord, Vice Chairperson Dave Berkeman, Secretary Marckres, Treasurer Gene Peel and members Jim Von Behren, Martin, Vodenik, Onken, McCarty, Hinds and Palmer.

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