Hurst has one last wish PDF Print E-mail

By Monika Spaulding
Special Correspondent

Every person hopes to leave their mark on this world before they die.


But Perry Hurst isn’t just hoping: he’s doing it.

Earlier this month, Hurst was given the devastating news that he has bone cancer and is not expected to be on this earth much longer.

Now, the community that Hurst has given so much of his life to is giving back to him.

On Saturday, March 7, at 4 p.m., a spaghetti dinner is being held at Pekin United Methodist Church. Money raised will help pay for Hurst to take his four year old granddaughter, Lorelai , to Disney World.

“I can’t wait to see her eyes,” he said. “This is something I’ve wanted to do with her since she was born.”

Hurst said he has tried to give to the community he grew up in his whole life.

“For them to come together like this, for me,” he said, “it’s unbelievable.”

Hurst’s niece, Peggy Monroe, has planned the event, along with several family members.

“He’s always been a public servant and so giving of himself,” she said of her uncle, adding that he has been battling cancer off and on for 12 years, but never wanted anyone to know because he didn’t want anyone’s pity.

When he found out earlier this month that he had bone cancer, Monroe said he decided, “It’s my time. It’s been a good ride.”

She said when Hurst was asked what he wanted to do before he died, he was quick to say that he wanted to take his children, Matt and Sarah, and his granddaughter to Disney World. Monroe made it her mission to make that dream come true.

“He has served the community, it’s time for the community to support him,” she said. “He’s never been selfish. He has always been about giving to others.”

Having both a son and daughter, Hurst was a scout leader for both – 10 years in Girl Scouts and 10 years in Boy Scouts.

“He taught so many people things over the years,” said Monroe. “He is an amazing cook and he’s so silly. He has the best sense of humor!”

Hurst was born on September 10, 1952, and was raised in Pekin on Hurst Road. Coming from a family who started the Pierce-Polk Fire Department, it was natural for him to fall into line and become a fireman himself.

“I started working for Pierce-Polk when I was 18 years old,” he said. “Though I was going to fires long before that . . . like when I was 10. I was a good size for my age!”

Hurst stayed with Pierce-Polk from 1970 until 1987, when he left to join the Salem Fire Department. He retired from the SFD in 2008.

“It was something I enjoyed doing,” he said. “I never considered it a job – it was a calling more than anything.”

Monroe said his giving attitude is one of the reasons the upcoming benefit dinner is coming together so easily.

“We have had so many people donate things,” she said. “We are so blessed to have so many people that love us and our family. I’m so blessed to be a Hurst. I’m proud of my family.”

Hurst said he is looking forward to visiting with the friends he has made over the years, as well as his family, at the dinner March 7.

“I’ve met a lot of good people and made a lot of good friends,” he said. “It will be good to see them, but it will be sad to say goodbye.”

He said his daughter, Sarah, once asked him how he wanted to be remembered.

“I told her, ‘That I was someone who tried to make a difference.’”

Anyone who would like to contribute to Hurst’s benefit fund may do so at First Harrison Bank.

“Uncle Bud always gives and gives,” said Monroe. “We want to make sure he gets his last wish.”


Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 13:38