In The News|
THE KENNETT PAPER - JANUARY 22-28, 2004
Perna is outstanding citizen 2003
Winner is a key member of the Kennett Run and leader of trails project.
By CHRIS BARBER
The guests at the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner last Friday didn't take long figuring out who the outstanding citizen was.
As soon as outgoing president Chris Bailey mentioned that the selected person was a Rotarian who also is intimately involved with the Kennett Run, it was clear that local attorney and community volunteer Michael Perna had been chosen.
"They pulled a fast one on me. They pulled a story about how the plane was overbooked [for a marathon in Texas] and we had to reschedule. When I walked into the dinner I was preoccupied about how the change in flight arrangements had deprived me of the rest day I was looking for... After I realized what it was all about, it was all worthwhile," he said.
Perna, 50, was referred to as a community "mover and shaker" by the committee that chose him.
In addition to his activities in Rotary and the Kennett Run, Perna is a member of the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce and was instrumental in rewriting its bylaws. He also has served on the Kennett Area YMCA and also has served on its Long Range Planning, Executive and Financial Development committees.
Perna's most recent pet project is the Red Clay Greenway Trail, an undertaking with which he has taken a leadership role.
The trail travels more than a mile along the east branch of the Red Clay Creek starting at Nixon Park. Eventually, it will connect the park, the YMCA, the Kennett Fire Co. and Kennett History Station and the community pool.
In recent months, when the committee was out moving dirt, laying stone and cutting wood, Perna was in the middle of the volunteers.
Perna was also chosen for his work with the youth. In describing the winner of this year's honor, Bailey said that Perna has been a mentor with Chester County Futures for two students at Kennett High School. He also is an active volunteer with the Migrant Education Program.
In accepting the award, Perna gave credit to the many non-profit organizations in the borough and immediate vicinity who work together to make the town better.