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Bedford grad uses ‘Survivor’ fame to help veteran’s center

The Monroe Evening News - 4/23/2018

TOLEDOAngela Perkins ricocheted between tables, greeting friends she hadn’t seen in over 20 years.

The Toledo native and Bedford graduate hosted her first local viewing party for Season 36 of “Survivor: Ghost Island” April 4 at The Blarney Irish Pub in downtown Toledo. Perkins, a 21-year military veteran who now lives in Cincinnati, is one of the 13 remaining contestants after the April 4 episode saw a seventh cast member voted off the island.

While she has been doing viewing parties down in Cincinnati throughout the season, the event in Toledo allowed Perkins to reconnect with many of her old hometown friends.

“It was amazing to see them,” she said. “It’s weird how certain relationships build over the years, and even when you haven’t seen these people in over two decades, when you do finally reconnect it’s like we never separated.”

Much like she bounced between tables at The Blarney, Perkins has bounced between tribes during her time on “Survivor.”

After starting out on Naviti and staying there through the first tribe swap, Perkins was assigned to the Malolo tribe last week. Malolo was able to avoid tribal council by finishing second in the immunity challenge.

While the episode was relatively uneventful for Perkins — a fact that she admitted isn’t necessarily a negative in a competition like “Survivor” — one noteworthy moment was when she and her fellow tribe members burned their tribal banner in an attempt to rid them of the bad luck that has seemingly followed the Malolo tribe around all season.

“We finally broke the so-called curse by burning the flag,” Perkins said. “Obviously by this time we’d had three swaps and the curse was definitely following the tribe.”

Perkins said her experience on “Survivor” was very similar to her time in the military, with one glaring exception.

“When I deployed, when I got into the foxhole and was next to my buddy, I knew without a doubt they had my back,” Perkins explained. “With Survivor, you’re standing in the foxhole with your buddy or your alliances, and you don’t know if they’re going to shoot you in the back. That was a huge difference and it stressed me out because I am such a social and loyal person.”

Perkins is using her newfound platform to effect change in the Bedford community. A portion of the proceeds from the viewing party will go to the new Bedford Township Veterans Center.

Blarney owner and Bedford native Ed Beczynski said Perkins ties to the local community combined with her desire to aid the veterans made their partnership for the event a perfect fit.

“It was awesome that (she) reached out to ask us to do it here,” Beczynski said. “When I heard that we were giving back a portion of the proceeds tonight for a good charity, it just hit home.”

As with her time in the military, Perkins said she has no regrets about her experience on “Survivor.” Both were grueling challenges with their own, unique rewards.

“(While in the military) I got a master’s degree, I got four bachelor’s and I got to see the world ...,” Perkins said. “It was amazing.

“And this was nothing less than amazing as well.”

 
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