Hero awarded for saving crash victim

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2005

A local man believes God’s intervention guided him to be in theright place at the right time to assist an accident victim.

Ricky Perry received a prestigious award for his heroicactions.

In July of 2003, Perry, a BellSouth employee, rescued a man froma burning car off Interstate 20 in Jackson.

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Because of his efforts, Perry, a lifetime resident of LincolnCounty and an electronic technician for BellSouth, was recentlyhonored by BellSouth Chairman and CEO Duane Ackerman at a ceremonyin Atlanta.

BellSouth-Mississippi President John M. McCullouch and membersof BellSouth’s executive team recognized Perry’s Bronze Vail Awardagain Tuesday at the University Club in downtown Jackson.

The Vail Awards are given in bronze, silver or gold and carrycash prizes of $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000, respectively. Perry wasawarded a $5,000 cash award, a framed citation, Vail pin and charmfor his heroic efforts.

Perry said he was traveling on the south frontage road ofInterstate 20 between BellSouth offices in Bolton and Edwards whenhe witnessed a traffic accident that caused a small Ford Explorersport utility vehicle to flip twice and roll down anembankment.

“This was one of those God intervention deals,” said Perry, whoalso said he never traveled down this particular road but for somereason did that day in 2003.

With the doors of the victim’s vehicle jammed and flamesflickering up the windshield, Perry pulled the injured driver tosafety through the driver’s-side window.

“What people don’t realize, is that I had a bulging disc in myback at the time,” Perry said.

Perry said he didn’t stop to think of his own back pain but justreacted to the accident.

“I never thought I’d get involved in something like this,” hesaid.

While Perry was removing the injured driver from the van, otherswho stopped to help removed the victim’s wife through thepassenger-side door.

By the time Perry pulled the victim from his vehicle and got himback to his van, the vehicle was engulfed in flames.

“God had a reason for me being there,” Perry said.

Perry has worked with BellSouth for five years. He and his wife,Angie, live on China Grove Road in the Enterprise community. He hastwo stepsons, Scott and Nolan Franklin. He and his family aremembers of Fair River Baptist Church.

McCullouch said employees like Perry demonstrate the strength ofBellSouth’s character and commitment to service.

“At BellSouth, we realize that consumers judge a corporation notonly by its bottom line, but also the content of its character.Ricky’s actions went above and beyond the call of duty and serve asa prime example of the type of character and service customersexpect from our company,” he said.

The Vail Award, named in memory of Theodore N. Vail, the firstpresident of AT&T, is presented to an individual for actionsbeyond those required in the ordinary pursuit of the job, or foremergencies outside the job which demonstrate unusual bravery orheroism. Only a handful of these awards are presented eachyear.

Since 1991, 29 BellSouth employees have received a VailAward.