October Member Spotlight: Steve Perry

By Catalina Combs – October 08, 2021

Please, tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Alhambra, California. I attended Martha Baldwin Elementary School and graduated from San Gabriel High School in Alhambra Unified School District. I then attended Rio Hondo Community College, where I earned my AA in Criminal Justice and continued my education at the University of La Verne, where I graduated with a BA in Public Administration. I have been in law enforcement and security executive management for the past 40 years, which has given me opportunities to travel the world. I have been married to my lovely wife, Débora, for the past 15 years and we have a nine-year-old son, Caleb. Our family travels take us yearly to Kauai, where we find time to relax and enjoy the slower pace of life on the island. My mom lives next door, and I have two younger brothers, although sadly, my youngest brother passed away last year, losing his battle to cancer at the age of 51. We spend much of our time with family, as my wife has five siblings. My son has more cousins than he can count!

What made you join the Pasadena Tournament of Roses? What keeps you going as a member? 

One day at lunch, my best friend Mark told me he joined the Tournament and suggested I do the same. I applied and was accepted at the age of 25. Every year is different, but what keeps me going is seeing all those smiling faces bright and early on New Year’s Day. The Tournament of Roses brings so much joy and excitement every year on January 1st, whether you are attending the Rose Parade for the first time, marching in a band, riding on a float or just sitting at home watching the parade on TV with the family. The opportunity to be part of an organization that provides once in a lifetime opportunities for so many parade participants as well as millions of excited parade viewers as we ring in another new year is what keeps me coming back, along with all of the wonderful Tournament members I have met over the years. I can truly say the members are my extended ohana (family).

Where are your passions outside of the Tournament?

In one word, my passion is volunteerism. I volunteer for many organizations in my community that are focused on supporting children. I want to ensure every child is provided with enriching experiences and opportunities, whether it’s attending Outdoor Science Camp, taking a field trip, receiving their first book for their home library or marching in the Rose Parade. It is my mission to give back to the community that has provided me with so many opportunities and experiences that have allowed me to be successful in life.

What is one thing you wish people knew about the Tournament of Roses and being a member?

The Tournament of Roses does not just put on a parade and a game. We are very active volunteers in our surrounding communities. The Tournament of Roses and our members give back to the Pasadena Community all year round, whether it’s assisting with food distribution, providing financial student scholarships, hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics, distributing books to children, supporting blood drives and much, much more. Our members give back to make a difference in the communities we are so proud to be a part of and able to support.

What are some of your favorite or memorable committees? Tell us about a moment you will not forget.

I have many unforgettable memories, especially while serving on the Tournament Grandstands and Parade Operations Committees. The most memorable would be my first year as a Vice-Chair for Tournament Grandstands. I was underneath the VIP Grandstands when a young woman exited a porta-potty screaming. I asked her what happened, and she told me her new engagement ring had fallen in the toilet. I told her not to panic and got assistance from a Pasadena City Worker who retrieved the ring. I placed her ring in a sealed baggie and gave it back to her. She was forever grateful. The second would be when I was Chair of Parade Operations for the 2018 parade and releasing units into TV Corner. I turned around to release the next float and saw that Orange Grove Blvd was empty with no units in the chute. Kids were throwing footballs across the street, spectators were standing and I was scratching my head. My Vice-Chair told me a float had broken down that was carrying 100 farmers. Once the float was put undertow, we got the parade back on time and finished 45 seconds early.

As a kid, what was your favorite part of the parade? As a seasoned member, how has that evolved?

When I was 15, like many teens, I spent the night in Pasadena on New Year’s Eve for the first time with all my friends at Orange Grove and Colorado Blvd.

The highlight was seeing Roy Rogers and Dale Evans as the Grand Marshals since we all loved cowboy movies. As a seasoned member, I am still just as excited about seeing the Grand Marshal every year and having the opportunity to meet them. Over the years, the Rose Parade has evolved as an event that is organized and planned to the second and gone from a three-hour to a two-hour parade. Floats are larger, more animated and continue to be the focal point of the parade every year. Bands continue to wow the crowd while marching, and some even perform as they march down the Boulevard.

What is your favorite thing about the city of Pasadena?

The city of Pasadena is so caring about its residents and the people that come to visit. There is so much to do and see in Pasadena as a diverse community with great restaurants, arts and cultural exhibits, parks and especially the people. I have met so many wonderful people in Pasadena who have now become great friends. You can always find something to do in Pasadena with your family without having to drive too far.

What are you looking forward to the most as Chair of the Queen and Court Committee?

We have selected a well-rounded, diverse Royal Court that represents our community. We are trying something new this year with the Royal Court when it comes to Community Service. On the weekend retreat, the Royal Court will select a Community Service Project that will include identifying the need, developing the plan, determining the budget and executing the project. It will include Tournament Members and the Community. Besides being Ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses, I want the entire community to see these talented young ladies as positive role models for future generations and help them leave their mark in 2021-22 as leaders of empowerment and change.

What moment are you most proud of as a member?

When I was on the Music Committee, I was able to tell a family whose son had broken his leg two weeks before the parade that he could be pushed in a wheelchair and still perform in the Rose Parade. The family thought we would not allow the student to participate on such short notice, and they wouldn’t be able to make the trip from Florida.

What is one thing people would never guess about you?

I own two vintage cars, a 1915 Ford Model T Depot Hack and a 1926 Ford Model T Coupe. While I am known for wearing Hawaiian shirts, I don’t think people know that I own 136 Hawaiian shirts.