Eddie Perry Finds Pride in Union County Heritage
Eddie Perry was born and raised in Union County, has lived here his whole life, learned two trades here, and raised a family here.
So, it might surprise you to learn that there was a time when Perry was ashamed of being a Union Countian, a feeling that, with maturity, he's left far behind him.
"We don't really get to pick where we're born. We can't really choose our heritage," said Perry. "Many years ago, I really thought I could disown my heritage, that I could leave Union County behind and never look back. I realized that Union County is my home. It doesn't matter where my house is, Union County is my home."
Perry attended Maynardville Elementary and graduated from Horace Maynard High School, where he fell in love with his high school sweetheart, Debbie, and married when they were both just 17. The pair have two children and four grandchildren. Out of high school, Perry went to work at Union Parts and Equipment, then went into construction and learned the trade from J.T. Russell. After a stint in customer service at Corryton Builder Supply, he went back to work for Russell as an estimator. He also worked as a homebuilder.
About 10 years ago, Perry decided it was time to get out of the construction industry. He became a Realtor at First Team Realty with Debbie Cox and Jane Janeway, who had been listing houses that Perry built.
"When you get older, you realize that your body cant' take as much of that hard, beating work that construction has," said Perry. "That was probably the best decision I ever made."
That's because Perry got out of building right before the housing market bubble burst in 2007-2008. Times were tough for awhile. He had just three closings in 2006 and took an additional job with Bank of America to check occupancy on foreclosures.
But Perry's work, along with his firm foundation in construction, started to pay off. When Cox and Janeway decided to retire, they gave Perry the opportunity to buy First Team, which he accepted. Four years ago, he bought the Realty Executives of Maynardville franchise for Union and Claiborne counties. But he doesn't just list property in those counties. He's sold property all over East Tennessee.
"It's all about customer service. We're providing a service," he said. "That's really what the bottom line is to everything I've ever done. I like helping people. Building a house or helping them buy a house, it's kind of all the same. We try to treat people like we like to be treated.
"You could call it a ministry. It's providing a service, but it's also an opportunity to meet people moving in. You get to brag on Union County and the good things about Union County. A lot of them already know that, but you get to reiterate it: low crime, low taxes, Southern hospitality, safe place for your kids, and on and on."
Speaking of ministry, Perry has been a bi-vocational Baptist minister since 1977, pastoring at First Baptist of Maynardville, First Baptist of Washburn, and Third Baptist of Knoxville. Right now, he's an associate pastor at Clear Springs Baptist Church in Corryton.
In addition to that, he's also been active in local civic organizations, serving as president of the Union County Business and Professional Association and on the board of the Union County Chamber of Commerce. He was on the Chamber board when the Union County Community Foundation was formed.
"Being able to give back to the community is important, to try to make it a better place for the next generation," he said.
That work, along with his real estate firm, are showing Perry every day why he chooses to call Union County home.
"Being proud of your heritage is one of the most important things I can tell anybody," he said. "You can't choose who your parents were or where you were born, but you can build on that and branch out. I am proud to be a Union Countian now. I wouldn't have said that a few years ago, but I am now. I'm honored to be from Union County."
Perry's listings are linked from HistoricUnionCounty.com. Just click through to see what he has to offer.