By Bruce Stambaugh
My late friend, Perry Reese, Jr., knew a good thing when he saw it. Perry could read people like a newspaper. Best known as Coach, Perry scrutinized his surroundings similarly.
That fact was one of the main reasons the talented and demanding teacher and coach loved living here. It was not easy for a single, black, Catholic man to reside and work amid the world’s largest Amish and Mennonite population. But he did for several successful years until his untimely death in 2000.
Perry thrived here as a winning coach and as an asset to the entire area. Why? He embraced the same core values as those revered by local folks. Work ethic, faith, community, and family together formed his life foundation.
Paramount to making Perry’s basketball team, players had to demonstrate a strong work ethic. The same characteristic holds for area businesses, too. Honing that esteemed value keeps the local economy healthy and stable, better than state and national averages.
Perry was a very private person, including practicing his faith. But there was no question as to where Perry stood, and he impressed that on his players.
It’s fair to say that local businesses attempt to model that approach with their products, services, employees and customers. The goal: actions match beliefs.
Perry loved the community, and for the most part, the community charitably returned the affection. He knew the importance of positive interactions and interpersonal relationships.
It takes determined effort to work together for the common good in a close-knit community. Though not perfect, this area shines in this regard.
Individuals, groups, clubs, churches and foundations regularly join forces with businesses to assist in time of need. Share-A-Christmas and the new county fairgrounds are two examples that come to mind. Add in the multitude of benefit auctions for individuals and service organizations, the commitment to community speaks for itself.
Despite his singleness, Perry placed enormous significance on the importance of family. In fact, he considered his players his family, and many considered him a father figure.
The fact that so many local businesses are family-owned and operated mirrors that concept. Family is everything here. Any and every good excuse is used to gather the family together any time of year.
Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, even solemn holy days like Old Christmas and Ascension Day, families assemble to share and commune. That’s not to say some good old-fashioned ribbing and recreation won’t also ensue.
In that same vein, businesses also reward their employees with family days like picnics, destination trips for the entire family, and financial bonuses. After all, a son or daughter might just be part of the next generation of employees.
All that said, it doesn’t mean that businesses and owners set themselves on a higher plane than elsewhere. Nor does it mean mistakes don’t happen. They do. But incorporating these four essential core values creates productive consistency in both corporate and individual lives.
Another admirable quality, humility, ties these four values together for individuals and businesses alike. Perry Reese, Jr. successfully used that important attribute to bind his teams together as one, just as businesses strive to keep their faithful employees.
These four fundamental principles have been time-honored traditions in Holmes Co., Ohio. In truth, they are revered universal values that transcend any and all geographical, social, political, gender, religious or cultural boundaries.
Friend to many, Perry Reese, Jr. was a gem of a guy, who humbly modeled the community’s core values. To do so was simply smart business.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2016
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