Terry Perdue, founder of The Unit, was honored at the WHIO Making a Difference Awards on Thursday, Aug. 21 for the work the group has done in the Dayton community.
The Unit was founded in 2009 by Perdue and started as a group of around 12 people coming together to workout. Later the group began to help out around the community with many different projects and organizations. Perdue said the group just evolved.
“The group is not just about working out, it’s about building and re-building the community,”
Perdue graduated with a Liberal Arts degree from Sinclair Community College in 2009, and then continued at Wilberforce University and the Dayton Police Academy becoming a Dayton Police officer. Growing up in Dayton is what gave Perdue the drive to create a group like The Unit.
The Unit has worked with organizations such as, Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots, the Victory Project and the Montgomery County Humane Society. The group has also participated in community efforts like the Olive Hill community initiative to reduce gun violence, food banks and a neighborhood cleanup.
“The point of the group is to build relationships in the city of Dayton,” Perdue said. “Our vision statement is improving self improving community.”
The Unit holds to three core values, hard work and dedication, improving self, improving community and supporting and realizing the potential in everyone. These core values were evident at one of the group’s weekly work out sessions. Members were eager to cheer on one another while screaming “hard work dedication.”
The Unit welcomes everyone and embraces diversity. There are members as young as 13 years old, all the way to 65 years old according to Sinclair student and Unit trainer Maksym Gerasimov. Gerasimov became a Unit trainer approximately three months ago.
“I don’t in any sense feel special; I am an ordinary person that the Unit sees a potential in. I have been fortunate to lead the Unit work out sessions, meet amazing, diverse and very supportive people, and be able to sweat with them side by side,” Gerasimov said. “I have been given a chance to make a difference in people’s lives, and that is the best opportunity I have had in my life.”
Gerasimov, Ohio Student of the Year, enjoys his work with The Unit and inspiring others. He feels best when he can connect to humanity, kindness and compassion to raise the standards of The Unit. It is a feeling of making your soul happy. You know you did a great thing after you felt very happy inside, and you feel like the entire world is at peace”, Gerasimov said.
Since the beginning of The Unit, where only around 12 people participated, the group has now grown to anywhere from 80 – 120 participants each week. There have been an estimated 3000 people who have attended the group’s workout classes since 2009.
Perdue feels there is a rich history in the Dayton area and much work to be done. Investing in the youth and showcasing the positive things happening around the city is all a part of what The Unit does. Perdue is searching for those individuals with new ideas that want to invest in the city of Dayton.
“If you’re looking for a way to give back to your city, looking for a way to serve or looking for a way to meet people The Unit is an awesome place to start,” Perdue said.
The Unit works out at RiverScape MetroPark on Monday and Wednesday nights from 6:00 p.m. till 7:30 p.m., and Saturday’s from 9:00 a.m. till 10:30 a.m.