Tommy Lee Perry, Public Relations

Tommy Lee Perry, Public Relations

Never Give Up On Your Dreams
By: Tommy Lee Perry

Tommy was born in the late 1940’s as the only son of John and Reba Perry.  Tommy’s parents who were share croppers managed to save enough money to escape the bondage of the Jim Crow South to Warren, Ohio in 1951. They worked around the clock to do what they had to do in order to do what they wanted to do.

Both parents with little more than a 6 and 8th  grade education worked various jobs saving their monies to send for each one of there sibling and love ones who wanted to escape the afflictions and limitations of Jim Crow.

After several years of working various labor jobs and moving each of their siblings to Warren, Ohio, both Reba and John stretched out their hands of faith and obtain factory jobs that allowed them to purchase their first home and start raising their son

Tommy.By the time Tommy was 10 years old his mother had became a partner in the  first black own car washing business in Warren, Ohio.

At an early age Tommy’s parents taught him a valuable lesson that “In order to do what you want to do he must do what he had to do!”  For Tommy this meant going to work for his parents at the young age of 10 years old at the car wash before and after school every day no matter how cold or hot the weather was until he was blessed to attend college. 

As time past on, Tommy began attending High school at Warren G. Harding High School where he quickly learned to use the discipline of hard work and determination on the track and football field. 

 It wasn’t long before Tommy became a star athlete breaking track and football records at Warren G. Harding which would earn him a full athletic scholarship to the University of Washington, in Seattle Washington.

With his mother being a long time member of The Church of Hope in Youngstown, Ohio Tommy was also a very active member of his church from the time he was entroduced until he left to attend college.  

Tommy had to endure many educational and social challenges when he went away to attend college.  Tommy focused his mind on over coming many obstacles he faced in college by once again becoming a black star athlete where very few blacks attended during the late 1960’s.  However Tommy would not allow the prejudice and educational challenges consume his mind from becoming a star athlete at the University of Washington.  Once again his hard work paid off and gave him the opportunity to sign a freeagent contract with the Washington Red Skins in the early 1970’s.

Tommy worked hard as only he knew how to do to win a staring position for the Washington Red Skins.  Unfortunately right before the football season began Tommy was hit in practice and sustained a severe knee injury that would cut his NFL career short.

Mentally and physically grieving over losing the career he worked so hard to obtained, Tommy returned to Warren, Ohio and enrolled at Kent State University to obtain an Associate Degree in Business and an Associate Degree in Accounting.

While attending college, he married and fathered three sons.  Tommy continued his education, managing the car wash and then proceeded to play semi-professional football.  During this time Tommy made a few bad decisions but with the help of the Lord, and his parents, Tommy began focusing on becoming a better role model for his young children.

Tommy’s desirer to better his life grew to wanting to better opportunities for people in his community Tommy decided to attend college to receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Technology.

Desiring to become involved in local politics, Tommy Perry with 7 other community activists   formed an organization in the mid 70’s to increase the number of Black voters in Trumbull County.

With the hard work of The Black Voter’s Community Organization in a matter of just one year the Black voters registration in Warren Ohio increased by 50% This was the beginning of Tommy’s long history of political involvement to obtain help develop job and educational resources for all citizens in Warren, Ohio.

Tommy also decided to help other Black males to over come their problems with chemical dependency by formulating the Ebony Black Male Life Line rehabilitation support group.  He also served on the Board of Directors for many agencies affiliated with drug rehabilitation services through out Trumbull County.

Tommy also founded and was head coach for the little league Browns and dedicated himself in finding ways to obtain all the needed funds it took to run a football team made up of mainly youth from the projects.  .

Tommy wrote community block grants to help obtain funding for the Little Browns football team and to acquire funds to help his resident wards where his football team were located.  Little by little Tommy became more involved in politics because he saw that many of the solutions to the barriers that his community and football team needs were determined by the political infrastructure in the city of Warren, Ohio.

Tommy continued working with the Black Voters Registration group and with the help of 7 other dedicated people and the guidance of God and His grace, this group of social activist managed to increase the black voting power in Warren by 57% while working along side of other organizations such as the black churches, NAACP, Warren Urban League, and many concerned Black citizens that were ready for a change.

Tommy quickly learned the benefits working of working collaboratively with entrepreneurs, business men, educators and politician who also wanted to see parity for Black’s to increase the economic growth of Warren and Trumbull County. 

Tommy over the years worked with various organizations such as the Community Development Department, the Health Department, United Way, UMOAP, Councilmen, Board of Education, Men Mentoring Men, The Warren Trumbull Urban League and several other organizations laying the seeds to help up youth to have the opportunity to succeed by obtaining a solid foundation of education form K-12th grade.

Tommy devoted himself in helping the black male community and other communities by teaching about the Rites of Passage and lecturing and teaching about Kwanza.  He taught the principle of what it took to over come violence with peaceful resolutions by teaching conflict resolutions.

By the time Tommy completed his Bachelor’s Degree at Kent State University he had worn numerous hats including: student advisor and recruiter, becoming a member of the Black Student Government Advisory Committee, Students Against Drug Drives, Parent Teen Advocate and Mentoring Program, Literacy Programs, and many other services to help maintain the black student body to achieve what ever they believed.  He was also very instrumental in recruiting and helping black students to successfully complete their college education by assisting the students in various capacities.

Tommy also worked hard with establishing a Black Alumni organization to have follow graduates to reach back and assist other black students who were trying to improve their lives through education.

Still working as the manager of the car wash, Tommy ran for State Representative but lost.  However this did not discourage him from continuing his dedication to increasing the productivity of community citizens by becoming tax payers through obtaining jobs.

Tommy worked sided by side with Mr. Mullane and the Board of Education in helping establish the small campus dream that has been manifested.

For several years at the original Rebecca Williams Community Center under the leadership of Jean Forbes, Tommy worked his way up from being a part-time volunteer tutor to becoming a full time teen supervisor.  While working in this department he wrote several grants to help fund reading programs, After School Programs, Teen Council and Retreat Training Trips to the Methodist camp Sites obtained through the guidance of Rebecca Williams CEO Jean Forbes.  

As the Teen Supervisor, Tommy worked closely with other agencies throughout Trumbull County establishing programs to promote educational, recreational, and spiritual strengthening of the mind, body, and spirit due to the agency being a Christian Based Organization.

Once Tommy’s mother died, Tommy moved on to help other elderly members of his family, who suffered from various forms of cancer, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, blood disorders, and depression.  Tommy worked with Hospice and local hospitals to obtain the best medical services for his family and learn as much as he could to help other suffering families.

Seeing so much sickness and limited health care services Tommy picked up his torch again and set out to get a Master’s Degree in Health and Human Services from Youngstown University.

  During his tenure as a student at YSU he address such important topics such as AIDS in the Black Community, Children Obesity Problems, The Increase of Autism among black children and children of all raises, the lack of equal medical care for the unemployed or underemployed, discrimination of health care services to minorities, the problem with the up coming shortage of nurses for our Valley and many more important subjects addressing President Obama’s Health Care Reform Issues.

Last but certainly not least, Tommy at the reap age of 60 is still not giving up on any of his dreams including being a minister for the Lord.  Although Tommy is currently a Youth Minister he continues to work towards his goal of being a world wide Evangelist to help service the needs of poor people across the globe.

Tommy’s primary focus is on educating follow Christians and people from all denominations about the importance of helping African countries with their need for the Word of God, food, shelter, clothing, medication and the fight against AIDS.

Annually Tommy’s church, The Church of Hope has programs to increase the knowledge for the need of missionary help for countries around the world addressing concerns of AIDS and poverty.  Building wells in starving African communities and assisting with providing shoes for children in Ghana.

Currently Tommy continues to work as a Youth Minister as he is establishing a network of people who are trying to help promote the welfare of Warren’s local economy.  Tommy has formulated a organizational floor plan that includes involving church, family, friends, and local citizens in the economic growth of this area focusing on, teen suicide prevention, obtaining natural energy supplies, providing housing opportunities for the homeless, ex-convicts and people who struggle with addiction transitional homes, and improving the missionary outreach programs to service those in need around the globe

In order to overcome the challenges in this world one must first put their trust in God, have faith in what you are doing and join forces with others who is working towards the same goal of humanity and love for all of man kind.

Tommy through his motivational speaking engagements strives to open the minds of people with an ear to hear and a heart to try to make a difference in making our community a better place by being doers of the Word of God.  Tommy tries to demonstrate that everyone can do something to make this world of ours a better place. One may only be able to give one dollar to help the people in Haiti.  Another may be able to help build a well in Africa for just 23 dollars to help supply water for a village.

There are love ones who are trying to overcome their addiction to drugs and alcohol that needs a second chance to recover while at the same time being asked to give of themselves while assisting with building houses for Habitat and working with organizations that assist the elderly and disabled.  

Tommy’s mission in life is to encourage others by sharing his story of the many challenges he overcame with the Grace of God and through the love and devotion of his family and friends.  For the depressed, lonely and downhearted Tommy wants to show you that with God anything is possible, it is never too late and to Never GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM!