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International recognition: Negaunee resident honored for diabetes-related work

Negaunee Lions Club member Gary Perala, left, shakes hands with Lions Club of Michigan District Governor Bruce LaBelle at a past event. Perala was awarded the Lions Club International Presidential Medal for his work as the local project chair for the clubÕs Defense Against Diabetes initiative. The Lions Club of Michigan worked to raise awareness of the complications associated with diabetes as well as screening, prevention and education. (Photo courtesy of Gary Perala)

NEGAUNEE — A Negaunee business owner has been honored on the international level for his work.

Gary Perala was awarded the Lions Club International Presidential Medal for his work as the chair for the Michigan Defense Against Diabetes Grant Program.

Perala, according to a Michigan Small Business Development Center press release, was recognized for his “dedicated service, hard work and compassion for those in need” through the D.A.D. grant program.

The Lions Club International, with 1.4 million members in over 200 countries, serves Upper Peninsula communities by providing free diabetes evidence-based educational programs funded by a grant from Lions Club International Foundation and the Lions of Michigan, according to the release.

In addition to his work with the Lions Club D.A.D. program, Perala is an active member of the Upper Peninsula Diabetes Outreach Network Advisory Council, the release from SBDC states.

Lions Club of Michigan District Governor Bruce LaBelle said during the recent award presentation that Perala has embraced his position with D.A.D. with “great enthusiasm and experience.”

“(Gary Perala has) shown exceptional leadership skills while running this statewide program,” LaBelle said in the release. “Under his leadership, he immediately developed working relationships with agencies and health care providers in our district and created multi-facilitated educational programs and services aimed at improving the lives of those living with diabetes and helping others from developing type 2 diabetes.”

Perala expressed gratitude for the award and all the people who helped him earn it.

“Everything I’ve been able to accomplish over the past two years can be attributed to great people and great collaborating partners like Ann Constance at UPDON, Anita Carter and the (Michigan State University) Extension team, Jill Van Drese and the UPCAP team, Gayle DeShambo and Amy Martin at UP Health System, Becky Rahe at Tai Chi for Health Institute, Elise Bur at (Northern Michigan University) Rural Health, Lions of Michigan D.A.D Team, and small business consultant Nicole Young Potvin at the Upper Peninsula Region SBDC.”

Perala is an Upper Peninsula Region SBDC client based in Negaunee.

He is the owner of 906lifestyle LLC, a health-and-wellness-based company in Negaunee and is currently working with Young Potvin of the Upper Peninsula Region SBDC on an additional first-to-market business plan.

“He recognizes how instrumental the SBDC is in the Upper Peninsula region and their role in supporting startups like Gary with no-charge professional consulting,” the release states.

Perala can be reached regarding health and wellness coaching, consulting, and speaking engagements by calling 906-399-6233 or sending an email to ggpenergy@yahoo.com.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.

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