If the first face newcomers see at the door when moving to Boyle or Mercer County happens to be that of Beth Perros, the tone set for living in these communities will be nothing but positive.
Perros has been a representative for the past year for Community Greeting Service, a company from Bowling Green in operation since 1946 that connects newcomers to a community with welcome packages promoting local business.
But Perros has been a booster for the town she’s called her own now for half her 52 years.
Perros has three daughters, two who are away at the University of Kentucky and a 17-year-old at Danville High School. She comes from a long line of UK grads and is proud to see her daughters following the family tradition.
“I am just so happy we came here, that I got to raise my daughters here,” she said.
“We” includes her husband, Mike, of Stifel Nicolaus & Co., a financial services company in Danville where Perros also works part-time, assisting her husband.
“I am a ‘people’ person,” Perros said. “My husband needed help at his office when he changed firms a few years ago, but I missed the human element. He is actually the one who saw the job (welcoming newcomers), in the newspaper classifieds as a matter of fact, and said it sounded like something I’d be good at.”
Perros has worked, among other things, as a preschool teacher in the past. This one fact alone perfectly explains her ability to immediately make others feel welcome and wanted.
“I just love getting to meet the new people,” she said. “To hear their stories of where they came from and what brought them here.”
Some stories, she said, are tragic, such as a family who came here as the result of being wiped out by a fire. Some are people, sad and lonely, who have experienced a loss and are trusting that a complete change in scenery is what will begin to heal a heart.
Others are here because of a job transfer to a local industry or through Centre College.
“I had one family that, I had no sooner gone through the door, than they were telling me about their daughter who also had just moved here so she ended up coming over, too — kids, dogs and all! It was like a big party!” she said.
That atmosphere is where Perros is most happy, she said.
“My mother and I, we both have birthdays in October, so expect to find us at the track,” she said. “You won’t find us boxed up, either. A beer and a hot dog, right on the rail! That’s for us.”
Is this a family tradition that includes her daughters now, too?
“They do like to come,” she said, but said she is aware this is a busy time in their lives so she doesn’t want to put any more on them.
Her youngest is something of an activist who is agitating for new laws to make the things kids study in school more realistically related to future careers.
“She would love to get into film,” she said. “She is a filmmaker already. Making a documentary.”
“My kids have taught me so much. They have changed the way I think, taught me how to think outside of the box, you could say. How to open yourself up to being present in everything you do.”
This is a skill she brings with her to work as well.
“I always get back to people with answers to their questions if I don’t have the answer,” she said. “There is so much this area has to offer.”
Perros said her predecessor took ill and retired after working for the company for many years. The transition came at a good time for the company since new privacy laws mean the job today is, essentially, an entirely different job than before.
“I have to be part detective now,” she said.
In the past, power companies and the schools just sent lists of new arrivals, but now Perros has to count on word of mouth and responses she gets to displays she has placed in the area and referrals from Realtors and the Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a really valuable service,” she said. “Sponsors get promoted, newcomers get info and I get to meet people.”
Even better, people get to meet her.