, longtime president of the , is comfortable in front of a crowd.
Jerry, 83, and his wife, Pat, 81, were honored by the on Feb. 9 with the Perry Hall Citizens of the Year Award. Both have served as community volunteers since the mid-1950s.
Read about the couple's history of service in the article, .
Following PHIA president Dennis M. Robinson, Jr.'s presentation of the award, Jerry Soukup delivered a brief speech, thanking the PHIA and others for their support and service.
He was interrupted several times by laughter and applause from the audience. Yet in a more solemn portion of his speech, he lamented that many of Perry Hall's service organizations, which had been strong back in the 1950s, had since disappeared.
The full transcript of Robinson's presentation and Jerry Soukup's speech is available below:
Dennis M. Robinson, Jr.:
[Jerry] handled the day-to-day responsibilities associated with managing the PHRC. His countless contributions over the years include umpiring baseball games, officiating football games, working in the concession stands, advocating for various improvements, including lighting, more fields, sprinkler systems and protective fencing.
Pat's volunteer work was just as important, but always behind the scenes. During baseball and football seasons, she could be found selling hot dogs and other food from the hot dog cart, and after Baltimore County agreed to build a brick concession stand outside Perry Hall Elementary School, her work didn't stop there. She could be seen nearly every day for decades. She spent so much time there, that it became officially known as "Pat's Shack."
The Perry Hall Recreational Council has served thousands of children and adults, as a result of their efforts, and every child who came through the program over the last half a century has benefited from their hard work. The Perry Hall community is undoubtedly a better place because of Jerry and Pat Soukup and I am pleased and honored to present them with the 2011 Perry Hall Citizens of the Year Award [applause from the audience].
I just want to take a few minutes of your time. I don't want to be boring.
I just want to thank Dennis and the Perry Hall Improvement Association for all of the help they have been to this community. And I really do appreciate it on behalf of myself and my wife. I think that's my wife out there [audience laughter]. First of all, thank you very, very much. In thanking the improvement association, I'd also like to thank several people here this evening.
First, . Paul is over here. He's not as good looking as I am, but he's still a good friend [audience laughter]. And he made up all these lies that he submitted to the improvement association to get me this award [audience laughter]. Paul made the mistake of coming up to me 25-27 years ago and said, "If you need a treasurer, I'm a CPA and I'm glad to help." That was 27 years ago. I should have done a background check on him [audience laughter]. I took him on as the treasurer and it proved to be a little shady [audience laughter]. I was a little concerned, but when I found out he was a developer, it all relieved my mind [audience laughter].
I'm also sitting next to , who wrote some very nice words about me and my wife in the Perry Hall Patch, and for that, I had to commit myself to buy all of my seafood from his [audience laughter].
But overall, I just want to take another moment to say that up at the rec council, we have about 28 programs that we sponsor, ranging for youngsters all the way for adults and old-agers and whatever. They're kind of busy up there and I just hope that they continue on for many, many years to come.
I just have one concern for our Perry Hall area. I've been around here since 1955-1956. When we first moved out to the Perry Hall area, there were a lot of service clubs around. We had the Perry Hall Jaycees, the Perry Hall Optimists, the Perry Hall Kiwanis, the Perry Hall VFW, the Gunpowder Lions Club.
We had quite a few and for some reason, they've all disappeared. I don't know why.
But that's why it's so great to have the Perry Hall Improvement Association looking out for us and our neighborhood. With that, I just want to thank all of you very, very much, and also thank my wife.
The only problem that concerns me was being out and around to certain meetings and doing certain things, I never was able to develop my first love, which was working around the house [audience laughter]. To make up for that, I bought my wife all of the best tools money could buy [audience laughter]—she has a power drill, saber saw, whatever. That's the way it went. I'm so fortunate to be with her.
So, thank you, Dennis, thank you very much and thank you all.
Have Jerry and Pat Soukup or the Perry Hall Recreation Council touched your lives? Tell us in the comments.