Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Inspiring Change



Well Before She Became a Vocal Advocate Against Domestic Violence as the CEO of the YWCA of Greater Oklahoma City, Jan Peery thought about being a teacher. If she had taken that path, she would probably have been putting the final touches on her classroom this month, in anticipation of welcoming a new group of students. A few of us might even have been her students, inspired by her unwavering desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

Instead, many of us have been introduced to Jan Peery through her devotion to her late son, Oklahoma City police officer Chad Peery, who became paralyzed following an attack as he attempted to break up a fight. A tragic automobile accident in April led to Chad’s untimely death and left his children seriously injured.

Although healing is often a slow process, the entire Peery family continues to look toward the future. By leading the YWCA through an ambitious, $15 million capital campaign, Jan Peery hopes to make a difference for thousands of women and children whose own healing might very well begin with lessons the would-be teacher learned from her own son: the immeasurable strength of the spirit, the legacy of a life well-lived and the importance of going back to the shore.



First, how are your grandchildren doing in their recovery since the accident? They’re doing better every day.

How long have you been married to Greg? 41 years.

Congratulations! How does one manage that? You take the peaks with the valleys. Too many people walk away when they’re in the valley.

What’s the best part of your job as the CEO of the YWCA? Getting to bring the issue of domestic violence to the community so that we can get people engaged in a dialogue.

Is this the kind of work you thought you’d be doing? No, my plan was to be a teacher.

But the plan changed … Yes. Along the way, I decided that I wanted to help out at the YWCA, two hours a day for one month.

Fast-forward to today, and you’ve helped raise almost $15 million for the YWCA’s capital campaign. We’re $250,000 from our goal of raising $14 million by October 9. If we reach that, a donor has pledged to donate the last $1 million to get us over the mark!

What do you wish you’d started doing long before now? Playing the guitar. I have a guitar that I’ve had since high school and I still want to learn to play it. I’m not giving up on that. Also, working in this field – and getting men involved in this issue that affects us all.

What are your unsung talents? Connecting people. And even though I’m not great at handling a gun, I’m a pretty good shot!

What do you bring to a crowded room? A smile.

What day is your birthday? August 25.

Happy birthday! What would the perfect gift be? Spending time with my family.

What is a risk worth taking? Speaking out to help someone or changing what needs to be changed. You have to take a risk to take a stand about anything.

What do you value most in your friends? Honesty and being there in good and bad times.

What do you believe that most people don’t? That each one of us has the opportunity to make a difference and that what we put out into the universe comes back to us.

What are you most grateful for? My family. The opportunities I’ve been given in life – even through everything with Chad. Seeing his courage and inspiration, we could see how God continued to bring out the good through the bad.

What will Chad’s legacy be? He showed us all the meaning of courage. He could have given up and no one would have blamed him. Instead, he took what life gave him and used it to help others in similar circumstances. He wanted to show his kids the importance of facing life head-on every day. His dream was to walk his daughter down the aisle one day.

Does his spirit help you make it through hard days? Yes. After Chad died, I had a dream that I was alone in the ocean, floating helplessly in the dark and searching desperately for the shore, which I couldn’t see in any direction. In the far distance, I saw a big, dark ocean liner and called out to it. As it got closer, it appeared to be white and bright. A blond-headed guy leaned over and asked me if I needed help and I said I couldn’t find the shore. Then he pointed, and the shore appeared close by and there was a sunny boardwalk with a Ferris wheel and lights and happy people who were walking around. The man said, “Just go that way. It’s right there. Go back to the shore.” I still remember the dream so vividly and I know the beautiful blond-headed man was Chad, telling me that I need to go back to the shore and live my life. It’s what he would want all of us to do. 


Author’s note: During our conversation, Jan expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the community for its support of Chad and the Peery family. In particular, she described the loyalty of the men and women of the Oklahoma City Police Department, whose constant presence by Chad’s side helped their fellow officer brave the most difficult moments of his journey.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Absolute Bedlam

Football is a big, big deal around here, especially if the teams competing both have “Oklahoma” in their names. As longtime rivals the OU Sooners and OSU Cowboys move toward another marquee matchup, Slice takes a look at the history, atmosphere and myriad joys of the madness that is Bedlam.

Happy in the 405

Civic development and housing demand, knockout sunsets and stellar sports franchises and a shared unquenchable spirit … there’s a lot to be grateful for about living in central Oklahoma – and we’re happy for the chance to share some of it with our readers.

Accounting for Taste

A give and take about the joys of parenthood, the value of personal authenticity and setting a goal of being more goal-oriented with star CPA Melissa Prophet.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

September 2018

No Events
No Events
No Events
No Events

More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
View map »


Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags