Mark Perry, a 15-year Harker Heights resident, is a training manager for BAE Systems, a company that builds armored vehicles.
What do you enjoy most about living in Harker Heights?
I enjoy the town itself, what it has to offer and just the overall feel of the place is nice.
Do you have a family?
My wife is Jodi. I have five children — three children from a previous marriage and the two that we currently have. Lydia is 11 and Cade is 8, and we got them both through adoption from Russia as babies. They both attend school at Skipcha Elementary.
Do you recommend other parents adopt children from Russia?
For us, it was extremely rewarding. It was hectic. It was expensive. It was very trying on the patience because of the long lead time, plus all of the information we had to collect. We had to build dossiers of our entire family that the Russians would review before they would accept you as a prospective adoptive parent.
After you got through all of that, then you didn’t know when you would travel because you were waiting on the Russian government to give you a referral. But as soon as you were given a referral, you have to be prepared to drop what you were doing and fly to Russia.
Is travel part of your job at BAE Systems?
Years ago I did travel to the Middle East and whatnot but in recent years it’s been just within the United States.
It’s pretty interesting that you get to travel to a lot of places and see a lot of interesting things, so saying you like to stay in Harker Heights is a big plus for this area.
“Yes, well, I’m not originally from here, but during my time in the Army I spent most of it in hot places - Georgia, Alabama, the middle east - so when we came back, we tried out in California for six months. Then this opportunity came up (and) we moved here, and we like it here because of the weather, believe it or not. We like the warm weather and the environment here and what it has to offer. “
Are you involved in any community activities?
“Yes, School of Wags. I haven’t gotten involved in any others simply because of time, but I think that the mastiff rescue is important. I’ve always been an admirer of mastiffs. We owned one for years, and we took a break. Now we have two more, and I think it’s payback to try to rescue some of the large dog breeds.”
What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
“Negril, Jamaica. Because we went to a resort there and that was probably the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever had. We’ve been to Europe, we’ve been to Jordan, we’ve been to Dubai, we’ve been to Russia. Jamaica is still for vacation the best.”
If you could, is there anything you would change about your life?
“At this point, I don’t think so. Maybe volunteer a little more for School of Wags.”
What was the very best advice you were ever given?
Watch out whose toes you step on today, because they might be attached to the butt you have to kiss tomorrow. That was from my father.