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Ronnie Perry looking to rebuild
Perry by his truck.jpg
Ronnie Perry is pictured with his truck that was parked inside his garage when fire erupted Wednesday. Despite most items in the garage getting badly burned, the truck somehow emerged unscathed. For anyone looking to help Mr. Perry, an account has been established at Security Federal Savings Bank in his name.

If there’s ever a man who has paid it forward, it’s Ronnie Perry.

The owner of Perry’s Garage on Sparta Street, Ronnie has made several trips to South Dakota to deliver clothes to needy people on Indian reservations. The side of the bus he drives out west says, “God Loves A Cheerful Giver.”

Here at home, Ronnie has organized weekly food giveaways from the basement of his Sparta Street business. Anyone in need is welcome to stop in for free groceries and a warm meal.

“I won’t be able to have it this week,” said Ronnie of the food distribution. “I don’t have a spot.”

On Wednesday, Perry’s Garage caught fire and was destroyed. The property appears a complete loss with Ronnie on the premises Friday trying to salvage what he could.

One thing which somehow escaped from the fire unscathed was his pickup, which was parked in a basement garage. Items were burned all around the truck, but it somehow emerged from the flames with no damage.

“I pleaded with the firefighters to let me try to get it out because it’s the best truck I’ve got, but they wouldn’t let me go in,” said Ronnie. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it the way it is.”

Ronnie said his current goal is to rebuild at the same spot. However, it will take some time and some hard work. Ronnie and a small group were busy gathering what they could on Friday and loading it on the back of the truck which survived the fire.

He did all this while still not 100 percent from a recent illness.

“I just got out of the hospital with a serious case of pneumonia,” said Ronnie, 77. “I couldn’t hardly breathe. But the doctors they were good to me. They made me well,” he said of his stay at Saint Thomas River Park.

Ronnie has spent so much time working to help other people, there are those who would like to return the favor to help him in his time of need. He says he didn’t have insurance on his building and admits the cost to rebuild will be considerable.

For anyone who would like to donate, an account has been set up in Ronnie Perry’s name at Security Federal.