Sullivan Honors Alaskan of the Week: Perry Green

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) yesterday recognized Perry Green, of Anchorage, Alaska, on the floor of the U.S. Senate. His family business, David Green Master Furrier, is iconic in Anchorage. Perry, a man of deep faith, has for decades selflessly given back to his community through countless board memberships and fundraising events. Perry is especially generous to causes that raise money for America’s men and women in uniform. Senator Sullivan recognized Perry as part of his series, “Alaskan of the Week.”

Tribute to Perry Green:

Mr. President, it is Thursday afternoon, and that means it is one of my favorite times in the U.S. Senate because I get to come to the Senate floor and recognize an Alaskan who has done something that is great for our State, great for the community, great for the country—you name it. I come here and brag about somebody I represent in Alaska, and I call this person the Alaskan of the Week. I know the Presiding Officer likes it, and the pages certainly do. What I like to do when I am starting this speech each week is talk to our visitors in the Gallery and people who are watching on TV to give a little update on what is going on in Alaska and encourage a visit. You will have the visit of a lifetime, guaranteed, if you come to Alaska.

Right now, as you can imagine, the great white north winter is coming in parts of the State. It has definitely arrived in other parts. Winter is a great time to be in Alaska, not just the summer. You can ski, snowboard, and at the end of the day sit back, drink something warm, and watch the northern lights dance in our sky. So come visit. You will love coming to visit Alaska.

What is really nice to do if you come and visit now is to wear a fur in Alaska. We have some great furriers in Alaska, but David Green Master Furrier in Anchorage is one of the oldest, most well respected, and certainly one of the best in our State and, I think, in the country.

It is an Alaskan institution, and our Alaskan of the Week, Mr. Perry Green, one of the kindest, most generous, most patriotic, hard-working Alaskans, has worked throughout the decades to keep this great institution that way.

Let me tell you a little bit about Perry Green. His father David was from New York. He was enthralled with Alaska, a huge fan of the characters that Alaska attracts, as well as Jack London’s “Call of the Wild.” So David moved to Washington State to be close to Alaska, where he eventually opened stores many, many years ago. Perry Green, David’s son, was born in Seattle on March 17, 1936. That is St. Patrick’s Day. How great is that? I always knew Perry had a little Irish in him.

He recalled: My father would come back from Alaska with such great stories, and all the Alaska sourdoughs would come to visit him. They sat at the dinner table and I was enthralled with their tales. Anyone who knows anything about Alaska knows those stories, has heard about them, read about them—bear attacks, moose charges, frostbite, crossing perilous rivers, traversing vast landscapes under the dancing skies, wolves howling in the distance, fires barely starting at 40 below, and countless stories about being saved by the kindness of strangers out on the trail. Perry also came of age during World War II. His father made fur ruffs for the soldiers’ parkas, which set the stage for Perry’s enduring patriotism and support for our troops. He said: I remember watching the troops head overseas, the wonderful parades. It all made me swell up with pride. I would say that Perry Green is the most patriotic American I know, and we have a lot of patriots in Alaska. 

He met his beautiful future wife, the beautiful Gloria, gracious Gloria, when they were both young and began dating as teenagers, and they have been together ever since. As a matter of fact, that is 63 years of marriage. That is something to be celebrated. Perry said that marrying Gloria was the best decision he ever made. I know Gloria, and I would certainly agree with Perry, and I would certainly agree with this: Like me, he definitely married up. 

Like his father, he traveled back and forth to Washington State often for work. He went to Alaska to work on the Alaska Railroad in order to save enough money to buy Gloria a wedding ring. He served in the U.S. Army for 3 years, and eventually he and Gloria made their way to our great State to forge a life together. They have been there ever since, and what a life they have lived. Initially, Perry worked at his father’s store in downtown Anchorage, but for a time he broke out on his own and started the Anchorage Fur Trading Company, which became the largest fur dealer in Alaska, and it was wildly successful. He traveled all across the State—300 villages in all, some of them multiple times—buying furs from the locals. He traveled by dog team, by sled, by snow machine, by bush plane, and everywhere he went he was greeted warmly and generously by people in rural Alaska in these villages. He said: I learned so much from the Alaska Native people. I was in awe of their kindness, their respect for elders, and their rich, cultural heritage. That time in rural Alaska was one of the best times of his life and laid the foundation for what has been one of Perry Green’s biggest loves—our State, the great State of Alaska, which he has given his all to.

His family’s company, David Green Master Furrier, is an iconic business in downtown Anchorage because they sell some of the best and most beautiful furs around, no doubt, but also because of Perry and his extended family, who have done such a great job of running the company for decades. My daughters and I have a little tradition on Christmas Eve. We head over to this great store and look for something to buy my wife, their mom. It is a fun, fun tradition that we do. Perry has been the face of the store for decades. People still remember his quirky commercials featuring tarantulas, huge athletes chasing him around, and always the tagline, “If you don’t know your furs, know your furrier.” It seems that all of Anchorage and so much of Alaska knew their furrier. 

It should be noted that they also know this Alaska furrier in Las Vegas as well. Perry Green is a very good poker player and has won three World Series of Poker bracelets and has made it to the final table of the World Series of Poker main event in Vegas two times. How about that for an adventurous life? It wasn’t just his store and Perry’s love of a good poker game that has endeared him to so many Alaskans. A man of deep faith, he is one of the most generous people in my State and one of the most committed Alaskans to public service and helping others. “I never was interested in being rich,” Perry said. “I wanted to do something positive for other people because that’s the greatest thing you can do.”

He has sat on nearly every board there is. You name it—the taxicab commission, the insurance board, the planning and zoning board, the symphony and opera board, the Rotary board, and a member of the Elks Club, the Masons, the Alaska Jewish Campus and Museum. The list goes on and on in terms of his service. He also raises money for numerous causes. “I can’t think of a fundraising effort that his name isn’t a part of,” his longtime friend Gordon Glaser said about Perry. 

Perry is especially generous in causes that raise money for our men and women in uniform. On the eve of Veterans Day, we can’t thank him enough for that. “Anyone who’s been in Anchorage in the last two generations knows that if you need something done, Perry will do it,” his friend Gordon said. If you are down on your luck or if you need a job, need a place to stay, or need some assistance, Perry will help.

Every community, every State, has leaders like this. We all know those types of people. They are very special, and he is one of them. Perry and his wife Gloria are also personally generous with their house— a lively, happy place open to people all across our State and, really, the world.

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, another longtime friend of Perry’s, credits him for teaching him and so many others “how to be an Alaskan.” What does that mean? According to Mayor Berkowitz, it means that he brought the spirit of Tikkun Olam to Alaska. That is a Hebrew phrase meaning healing the world. Perry has brought this to our State one generous act at a time, one community at a time. Perry and Gloria will be honored at Alaska’s Jewish Gala next week—one of our State’s most fun and memorable events. It will be next Saturday evening, and I will be there for sure. It is a time when we all can gather together, celebrate the vital role the Jewish community has played in our great State, and be reminded that Alaska is a place where we can all come together and take care of each other the way the Greens have been doing for decades.

Rabbi Yosef Greenberg, a good friend of mine and another extremely generous man who has given so much to our State, says that the mission of the Alaska Jewish Campus that Perry Green has been so generous to is “Warming up Alaska!” “In the 60 years of Alaska’s statehood,” said Rabbi Greenberg,“Perry Green has warmed up Alaska, not only with his David Green fur coats but even more so with the joys of his life, big heart, and lending a hand to ordinary Alaskans and anyone in need.” That is how he has warmed up our great State. 

Perry and Gloria have done so much for Alaska. They are highly deserving of this recognition they will be receiving at the Jewish Gala next week. Congratulations to them and their 5 children, 13 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and all of the extended Green family, so many of whom continue to serve our State and country so well. Perry, from your friend, congratulations on being our Alaskan of the Week.

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