Saturday, June 4, 2011


Daryl Riffle, left, president of the Darke County Visitors Bureau
and Deanna York, right, executive director of the Darke County
Visitors Bureau awarded Greenville’s Penny Perry, middle, the
inaugural 2011 Darke County Tourism Citizen of the Year Award.
Ms. Penny Perry was honored as the first Tourism Citizen of the Year by the Darke County Visitors Bureau at the Chamber’s annual meeting, Thursday at Romer's Catering in Greenville.

Daryl Riffle, President of the visitors bureau’s board of trustees presented this award which exemplifies the best of tourism in our community. This award recognizes people who look first at what they can do for tourism within Darke County. They work in a business or volunteer in a group that brings people into our community from 30+ miles away to enjoy events, attractions, shops, accommodations and other aspects of the tourism industry. The award recognizes those who have demonstrated extensive and diverse participation, leadership and support in public and/or private tourism endeavors over a period of years. And finally, this honor is bestowed upon a leader capable of getting others involved in tourism within the community.

Ms. Perry, this year’s award recipient is a native of Darke County. She graduated with the class of 1960 from Greenville High School, and went on to graduate from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, with a major in History and Political Science and a minor in English. In 1971, she graduated from Arizona State University with a Master of Arts Degree in History.

Ms. Perry taught to teach English at Greenville Junior High and Social Studies at Franklin Monroe High School for almost 30 years. She retired from the Teaching profession in 1996, and then dabbled in local politics and spent a term on Greenville City Council. During this time she began volunteering at Garst Museum, which she says she thoroughly enjoyed because of her history background and interaction with the staff and visitors. The museum board made a change in direction, and she agreed to fill in as Director for “three or four months” while a search for a new Director was underway.

The three months turned into six years, and those six years, Ms. Perry was quoted as saying, “Were some of the most rewarding of my life.”

Under her direction, the museum established field trips for fourth graders in Darke County at no expense to them or the school system. Group tours were strengthened. Exhibits were re-created with exciting new displays and the Garst House was restored inside and out to its former beauty.

Ms. Perry stated, “Garst has always been a wonderful local museum, but now it has become a museum that attracts tourists from all over the country. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have Annie Oakley as a star.” Yearly attendance increased from 3,000 to 12,000 visitors a year.

She is humble and is quick to point out that she certainly could not have accomplished this alone. The museum is blessed with a wonderful staff, volunteers, and Board. Board President John Marchal worked tirelessly to bring these changes about.

Ms. Perry decided that it was once again time for her to re-retire which she did at the end of 2010. She continues to volunteer at the Garst Museum especially with the field trips, but now spends much of her time pursuing other interests – reading, traveling, and of course, playing bridge.

Ms. Perry also received commendations from State Representatives Jim Buchy and Richard Adams, State Senators Keith Faber and Bill Beagle, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor.

For more information on Garst Museum, please visit their website at For information on all aspects of tourism in Darke County, visit

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing award, recognizing an absolutely outstanding individual. Miss Perry was my English teacher while a student in Jr. High (I think it was)...but she certainly inspired me to be creative and write. It led to a journalism degree from The Ohio State University which led to a wonderful career I've had. So I sit here in St. Moritz, Switzerland today---planning an international conference for one of my clients---and realize that without teachers like Penny Perry, I would have so little to aspire to today. My congratulations Miss Perry !


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