A recent University of North Georgia graduate and Dawson County resident will be honored at a National Commissioning Ceremony on Friday, June 12.
The ceremony, according to 2nd Lt. John W. Perry IV, was organized by the U.S. Army to spotlight newly graduated cadets, now new second lieutenants, across the nation.
“I’m going to be at UNG with the leadership for the ceremony,” Perry said, “and I’m very fortunate to have been selected to represent UNG.”
In past years the ceremony takes place in person, but with the recent COVID-19 pandemic this year’s ceremony will be virtual.
“It’s all going to be online, bringing us together from all across the nation and possibly internationally if some of those attendees are overseas,” Perry said. “They’re going to have some talks, make some speeches and then administer the oath of office for officers joining the army.”
A total of 18 UNG cadets will take their oath during the online ceremony, but Perry, who graduated in May with a degree in strategic and security studies, will represent UNG for the ceremony from the military leadership center on the school campus in Dahlonega.
According to Perry, getting to be a part of the national commissioning ceremony is not only a huge honor but also something to look forward to after the anticlimactic end to his last semester of college.
“I finished up my classes online, passed everything and I’m graduated now — it doesn’t quite feel like it, but I suppose it happened,” Perry said. “There were a lot of events I was looking forward to that were canceled unfortunately for health risks and trying to keep everyone safe.”
Originally from Florida, Perry has lived in Dawson County since he was eight years old. While in school at Dawson High School, Perry joined the Junior ROTC, a group which he said was an important part of his high school experience.
“That was one of the most important things I did in high school,” Perry said. “It gave me a great foundation for moving up into ROTC in college, so I’m very thankful to the instructors in that program and to all of the people in Dawson County who supported the creation of that program.”
His experience in the Junior ROTC at Dawson County High School was something that Perry says helped to solidify his goal of joining the military.
“When I joined the Junior ROTC program that’s when I really decided,” Perry said. “Before it was something that I’d always thought about but wasn’t sure, but the Junior ROTC really helped me decide that yes, I want to join the military, I want to serve my nation, and I want to do something great and worthwhile with my life.”
After graduating from Dawson County High School, Perry moved on to UNG where he joined the corps of cadets. The opportunities he was given while at the college are something he is and will always be very thankful for, according to Perry.
“I’ve been able to do a lot of great things through the university, a lot of things that I think helped me to earn this recognition,” Perry said. “So I’m really thankful for the opportunities that they gave me in the Boar’s Head Brigade, which is our corps of cadets at UNG.”
Perry said that being recognized in the national commissioning ceremony in a great confirmation of a job well done while at the school.
“I knew there was a possibility of it, but when I was selected I was honored,” Perry said. “This is a huge recognition for me, and it really makes me feel great about my time at UNG that multiple people think I deserve to be recognized in such a way. It makes me feel like I did well at that school.”
On May 23, Perry married his bride Samantha in a small ceremony at First Baptist Church in Dawsonville. Perry credits Samantha and the rest of his family, as well as God and many other people in his life, with helping him along the way to becoming who he is now and receiving such an honor.
“I’m very thankful for the people that helped me get to this point,” Perry said. “I know I’m here today because of what a lot of other people have put into me. I owe it to my family, to my wife, and to all of my mentors and instructors from high school and college that helped me get to this point, and I definitely want to give the glory to God.”
Perry says that he hopes his accomplishments will help inspire other young men and women who are interested in pursuing the same path as him.
“I’m just really hoping that this can be a good example for some other students at Dawson County,” Perry said. “I always went back there to do recruiting for UNG every semester I was there — I really believe in that Junior ROTC program and I really believe it has great opportunities for those students. So I really just hope that maybe they see this and think, ‘That’s something I can do too’.”