The Old Hallowell Day Committee is pleased to announce that Pam and Eric Perry have been selected as the OHD Citizens of the Year for 2018. Old Hallowell Day could not be more special for this couple and the feeling is mutual.

Both Pam and Eric Perry were born and raised in Hallowell, Maine and have chosen to raise their own family here, in the community they love.
“We’ve both spent some time away from Hallowell, but our roots are deep,” said Pam Perry.

Looking back, it was the couple’s chance meeting and conversation on Water Street on Old Hallowell Day, 1987 that marked the beginning of their relationship, they recall.
“I was a freshman, and he was a senior – the captain of the Hall-Dale football team, and voted Most Handsome,” she said. They married three years later. Last year, Pam was swept away when Eric surprised her with a 1987 OHD T-shirt and a full-page ad in the Old Hallowell Day program book to mark the occasion of their 30th Old Hallowell Day together and looking forward to the next 30 or more.

As a teenager, Pamela Young Perry worked behind the counter making hoagie sandwiches in the family business, Fido’s Market, a popular local landmark still fondly remembered by generations of Hallowellians. She recalls numerous Old Hallowell Day celebrations as a youngster, in the mid ’70s when she and her cousins dressed up as roast beef, cheese, lettuce, green peppers and the like to transform themselves as fillings in a canoe that completed a Fido’s hoagie sandwich for the parade each year. She still teases Eric that he was attracted to her because she often smelled like steak and cheese with onions.

In 1997, after a stint with Granger Northern during which he managed the $7 million renovation of Portland’s Merrill Auditorium, Eric Perry founded E.J. Perry Construction Company out of their home in Hallowell. It was a humble beginning, starting off in business with nothing but his skills, a few tools, and a borrowed pick-up truck. E.J. Perry Construction now boasts a growing portfolio of delighted commercial and residential clients in Maine and beyond, and an entire fleet of distinctive bright orange vehicles, still based in Hallowell. But what really sets the business apart is its company culture based on Eric Perry’s integrity, character and leadership.

As citizens, the Perrys are generous and enthusiastic supporters of their hometown community and loyal contributors to numerous local organizations, cultural and educational initiatives. Their longtime passion for appreciating and preserving local history carries over into the family business, as well. As a local company, E.J. Perry Construction is committed to demonstrating its support of the community that has helped the business attain success over the past two decades.

Old Hallowell Day is one example. For as long as they can remember, Pam and Eric Perry have been loyal supporters of OHD, and especially the famous fireworks that cap off the daylong celebration.  E.J. Perry Construction Company has been a longtime OHD corporate sponsor, joining other community businesses to underwrite the family-friendly festivities every July.

Over the years, E.J. Perry Construction, and the Perry family, have also shown their commitment to supporting Historic Hallowell’s Museum in the Streets, the Last Crane Standing, the Hubbard Library and Gaslight Theater. They have been longtime supporters and sponsors of the Hall-Dale Boosters Club, Little League, Youth Soccer, and Youth Softball. Even though the Perrys’ own children, Rebecca, Hannah, and Matthew have now all graduated, E.J. Perry Construction is one of the major underwriters of the new Hall-Dale high school gymnasium floor being installed this summer.

The Perrys’ shared passion for saving historical buildings has led them to buy and renovate a number of older residences in Hallowell. And thanks to purchase by the Perrys, the dilapidating old Rialto Theater has been rescued from ruin and now awaits the next chapter in its venerable life. E.J. Perry Construction Company was the successful bidder to renovate Hallowell’s historic landmark fire station hose tower, which also had been in a precarious state of disrepair.

Pam Perry, a pediatric occupational therapist, has spent the past 30 years working with children with special needs, from babies to school-aged children, and is currently employed in the Winslow and Vassalboro schools. The Perrys organize and host an annual Adults with Autism barbecue and get together at their Hallowell home every summer.
As for civic engagement, Pam served on the Hallowell Board of Appeals for over a decade.
“I chaired the Board for a couple of years, back when there was a lot of lively discussion as the Rail Trail came through,” she recalls.
Eric Perry has served on the Fire Station Committee and is currently a Hubbard Library trustee. They have both participated on the Open Space Committee and the Comprehensive Plan Committee.
“I laugh when I remember [then Mayor] Tony Masciadri joking that there are 47 committees in Hallowell and only nine people serving on all of them,” Pam said laughing. The couple agree that volunteering and getting involved has been a great way to meet their neighbors.

“One of the reasons we love Hallowell is its wide variety of people – it’s truly a melting pot,” said Eric Perry. “It’s such an eclectic town, with lots of different perspectives… political, social, theological… but we care about each other, and we take care of each other. We’re quick to put aside individual agendas and work together for the greater good. And I’ve been blessed to get to know people I had not known before, and would not have met, but we’ve become friends now through our collaborative efforts to make Hallowell better.”

“If you looked up the terms good neighbors and valuable and respected members of the community in the dictionary, it would list Pam and Eric Perry first,” declares Dawn Gallagher, a Hallowell resident who says she first met the Perrys at the time she was chairing the Comprehensive Plan Review Committee. She recalls how they always worked toward consensus and valued everyone’s opinions. “Not only have they given so much to Hallowell in terms of their public service and rescuing properties, they live their lives and treat their Hallowell ‘family’ with grace and dignity.  They are Hallowell and all we stand for.”

Chef and artist Wendy Larson, proprietor of Slates Restaurant, couldn’t agree more.
“I’d known the Perrys as customers, and Eric as a fellow local businessperson, for a while, but I really came to know him after the fire (that devastated the former Slates restaurant building in 2007).”

“Determined to keep Slates’ doors open and keep my loyal crew employed, we started cooking outside on the grill, and as the months progressed, eventually in a makeshift trailer arrangement out back in the garden. But by the end of October, we were freezing — still out back grilling, now with our mittens on. Eric came down, took in the scene, and said, “I need to help you.””

And he did. He insulated and weatherized so that the set-up was vastly improved.
“Two years ago, when we wanted to renovate our building next door so that we could move to our present location,” she continues, “of course I hired E.J. Perry. I wanted someone local, fair and honest. I had a vision, but I also had a budget, and modest expectations. Eric is so knowledgeable and so resourceful. Working with old buildings is never straightforward. He uses the best materials, and has the best people working for him. The results are way beyond my wildest imagination, and the new Slates is nicer and better than ever!”

“And I suspect we’re not unique,” Larson adds. “It’s obvious that Pam and Eric Perry really love Hallowell and they really want it to succeed and keep its charm. I can’t think of more genuine people than Eric and Pam.”

Not surprisingly, the Perrys are more than a little overwhelmed by the praise and attention they’ve been receiving since the Citizens of the Year announcement. After all, their contributions come from the heart and it’s a natural way of life for them. Their typical Old Hallowell Day consists of helping set up for the library book sale, watching the parade, enjoying the strawberry shortcake lunch at the Legion Hall, browsing the arts and crafts vendors, home for a nap and then back downtown to watch the fireworks… and a sentimental kiss, for old time’s sake, on the banks of the Kennebec in the hometown they love.

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