Special Olympics Florida announced that Sam Pero, Publix Lakeland Division Vice President, will serve on the Special Olympics Florida Board of Directors.
As Divisional Vice President, Pero oversees the sales, profit, and general performance of 269 Publix stores across 17 counties in Florida. Additionally, he supports and provides resources for non-retail departments.
“Special Olympics Florida and Publix have a strong, long-standing relationship, and Sam’s new position on our Board will further strengthen our partnership,” said Sherry Wheelock, President and CEO of Special Olympics Florida. “We are pleased to welcome Sam to our Board and grateful for Publix’s commitment to empowering people with intellectual disabilities across Florida.”
Pero began working at Publix in 1977 as a front-service clerk in Miami, Fla. He was promoted to store manager in 1987, district manager in 1994, and Jacksonville Division Regional Director in 2005. He was named to his current position as Lakeland Divison Vice President earlier this year.
“We’re very proud of our long-standing relationship with Special Olympics. I’m excited about the opportunity to serve them as a board member and to work with others who share the same passion for their work,” said Pero.
Pero’s additional philanthropic activities include United Way Board member, Junior Achievement Board member, and volunteer for Boxer Rescue.
He and his wife Marcy reside in Lakeland and have three children, Andrew, Daniel, and Sammy.
In 1972, a grant from the George W. Jenkins Foundation, now known as the Publix Super Markets Charities, sent Florida athletes to the Special Olympics National Games. Publix has been a supporter of Special Olympics Florida ever since. Today, Publix raises the funds necessary to support Special Olympics Florida’s growing program through paper torch sales and the Special Olympics Florida Golf Classic. In addition, Publix serves as the premier sponsor of the Florida Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics. Publix provides volunteers for Special Olympics competitions, and many Special Olympics athletes are Publix Associates.