September FCPS Alumni Spotlight: Ricky Perry

Published 7:08 pm Monday, October 2, 2023

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Ricky Perry graduated from Franklin High School in 1970. A native of Franklin and the son of the late Tom and “Skeeter” Perry, Ricky knew from his high school days that all he wanted to be was a game warden. After high school, he received an Associate Degree in Law Enforcement from Old Dominion University and joined the Virginia Division of Game and Inland Fisheries in 1978 as a game warden. While stationed in Henrico County, Ricky attended VCU, where he earned a BS degree in Criminal Justice, as well as a graduate degree in Criminal Justice Administration. Ricky’s dedication to his career as a protector of Virginia’s wildlife resulted in his recognition in 1985 as Virginia’s Game Warden of the Year. 

In 1987, Ricky left VDGIF to work as a special agent or federal game warden with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 22 years. During these years, Ricky was trained to become a pilot at the Army Flight School and learned to fly a helicopter and a Cessna 185 amphibian float plane. These skills enabled him to catch wildlife poachers, illegal guides, and waterfowl killers, operating during the closed season using lead shot. His career accomplishments led him to assigned work in Alaska three times, the Chesapeake Bay, as well as up and down the East Coast. He was assigned to work an International Covert case in Saskatchewan, Canada, to find a Vermont guide wanted in New York, Vermont and Canada. This case was covered in The Atlantic magazine in April 2003. Twice he was among a team of agents selected to go to Tanzania to train African National Park Rangers in anti-poaching techniques to help protect African wildlife, especially elephants and rhinos.

After 24 years in the field, Ricky was promoted to Resident Agent in Charge with the USFWS and moved back to Richmond, Virginia. During the events of 9-11 in 2001, Ricky was working on an assignment on the West Coast when he was called to immediately return to the East Coast to help with security at Logan Airport in Boston. Since no planes could fly, three agents rented a car and drove 58 hours to get to the Boston assignment. In 2005 Ricky towed a jon boat to New Orleans to help with search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina.

After numerous exciting adventures, Ricky was mandatorily retired Aug. 31, 2009, due to federal law enforcement age restrictions. At that time he was in charge of the Chesapeake Bay Mid-Atlantic Region of VA/WV/MD/DE and DC for the enforcement of federal wildlife law. According to Ricky, the adage “find a job you love and you won’t work a day in your life” was true in his case for 31 years!

In September 2019, Ricky was asked to return to the VDGIF as a special assistant to the Executive Director for Law Enforcement. His duties include researching and writing articles for the employee retirement newsletter, giving Ricky a chance to use the writing skills he learned at Franklin High! Ricky and his wife Bonnie currently reside in Hanover County. They have two daughters and two grand-daughters.

For his dedication and service to both animal and human life, Franklin High School is proud to honor Ricky as an Alumni of the Month.