Former Village Administrator Back as Rotary President
John Perry served in Woodridge post for 20 years, wrote a book about his experiences and now leads Rotary for a third time.
John Perry knows Woodridge.
He served as Woodridge's village administrator for 20 years. And for the third time, Perry is the president of the Woodridge Rotary Club, of which he is a charter member. (His first term as president was in 1993; the second in 1997.
Perry wrote of his Woodridge experiences in Blueprint for Building Community, a book on management that explains his point of view of being an elected official and engaging with the residents. He said his expertise provides advice and lessons for his readers.
According to the village website, during Perry’s term as the village administrator, the population grew from 20,000 to 36,000 and became listed as one of “100 Best Small Places to Live” by Money Magazine. Perry also won the prestigious Village of Woodridge "Building on Our Dream Award" in 2009.
Although now retired, Perry said he will continue to support the community.
“Retirement doesn’t mean my work’s not important, it just means I do it in a different way,” he said. “I still enjoy the benefits of working in the community with other people.”
As a charter member of the Rotary Club, Perry immediately began the club in 1989 after coming over from the Oak Forest Rotary Club. Gina Cunningham-Picek, another charter member, has known Perry since the Woodridge club’s founding.
“I absolutely just admire John,” she said. “He’s been a truly active member. To me, he is an exemplary Rotarian.”
The Rotary Club honors “service above self” through humanitarian service to the community. Every year, the club raises money to provide scholarships, aid the Community Resource Center, volunteer for the West Suburban Community Pantry and organize the Recycling Extravaganza.
Adding to his an extensive list of village activities, Perry also works on international projects to support other Rotary Clubs around the world.
The last Rotary president, Susan McNeil-Marshall, supported around 20 activities, Perry said. He wants to continue that work, as well.
“We have had good several years, and I would like to build on that,” he added.
On Sept. 11, the second annual Blues Off The Dock event at the Seven Bridges Golf Club will raise money for the Community Resource Center.
Ultimately, Perry said he hopes he left a legacy to his community and will continue to serve it as long as he can.
“I hope I left a mark,” he said. “I want the community to understand what they can accomplish and see the value of working together.”
Investment in a small community is a model the national government should learn from, Perry said.
“If we could learn what we can do together at a local level, if we can see that and learn from that," he said, "then maybe we can learn from that on a wider plane."