One of the great things about living in the town you grew up in is watching people you know “grow-up,” and be recognized for their contributions to the Treasure Coast community.
One of these people, for me, is Mark Perry, who I have known since my earliest memories. Today, Mark is the Executive Director for Florida Oceanographic Society, (http://www.floridaocean.org), the epicenter in Martin County for education, protection, and advocacy for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. He has been leading the organization for 35 years…
Mark is older than me. I was born in 1964, and I believe Mark is about ten years my senior. When you’re a kid, that’s “a lot.” But it’s just enough to for constant admiration “from younger to older.” I have been admiring Mark Perry my entire life…
Mark, his brother Chris, and his parents Clifton and Mimi Perry attended St Mary’s Church as my family did and does today. I first met Mark at St Mary’s…I was probably 3 or 4 years old.
As I grew up, I remember my parents talking about the “older kids” in the youth group getting to go on a canoe trip down the Peace River, chaperones, sleeping bags, marshmallows, etc….It was the 1970s….I wanted so badly to be older and get to do the “cool” things the older kids did, but I was just a “kid,” and had to stay home…
Over the years, my parents kept me abreast of the Perry family and what was always most interesting to me was Mark’s journey with Florida Oceanographic, an organization his father helped found in 1964 that was originally located in my childhood neighborhood of St Lucie Estates, along Kruegar Creek, in Stuart. I often visited there on my bicycle.
Over the years I grew up, moved away, attended University of Florida, lived and worked in California, Germany, and Pensacola, and when I came home in 1997 to Stuart, to continue my teaching career, Florida Oceanographic had expanded from that neat place I saw on my bicycle to become the showcase institution it is today–-An organization that symbolizes the love and fight for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon-and the life of Mark Perry.
Tonight at FAU/Harbor Branchs’, “Love Your Lagoon” gala, (http://www.indianriverlagoon.org/Love-Your-Lagoon-Dinner-.html) Mark Perry will be honored for his St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon work. It is the foundations’ fourth annual, and those who preceded Mark in being honored are: 2012, Nathaniel Reed; 2013, Bud Adams; 2014, Alma Lee Loy.
Mark follows in big footsteps, and he has filled them, “completely.” Thank you Mark Perry for a lifetime of admiration, respect, and guidance in our love and fight to save the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon!
(These are excellent resources):
View Mark Perry’s FOS Presentation Library power point’s on the SLR/IRL here: (http://www.floridaocean.org/p/177/presentation-library#.VNTBDFriuR8)
Palm Beach Post article: (http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/local/florida-oceanographic-society-head-marks-35-years-/nWnzC/)