September 10th, 2015

Hyland's Heroes: Shelley Perrone

Samantha Stallings

Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Shelley Perrone
From left to right Victor, Shelley, Will, Emily, Maggie, and Tom Perrone / photo provided by the Perrone family

The following feature is a part of a bi-weekly series, sponsored by Hyland Insurance. "Hyland's Heroes" is a series of profiles that spotlight Louisville area Catholic volunteers, coaches and administrators who assist athletic programs and teams, and help promote excellence in all aspects of sports.

Know someone that you think should be featured as the next "Hyland's Hero”? Send your recommendation to

Shelley Perrone was born in Dayton, Ohio and grew up in Dayton and Lexington, Ky. She was raised Catholic but attended Tates Creek High School and the University of Kentucky. 

Shelley married her husband Tom in 1993 and moved to Louisville to start their family. 

Shelley was employed at Seven Counties Services for seven years as a case manager, then as a psychotherapist for severely mentally ill adults. Shelley made the difficult decision to leave her job in 2000 to stay at home to raise her children. 

Tom and Shelley have four children; Victor is a freshman UK, Emily is a junior at Sacred Heart, William is a freshman at St. Xavier and Maggie is a sixth grader at Holy Trinity. 

Shelley’s joys are spending time with her family and volunteering at Holy Trinity as well as running and playing golf. 

When and how did you get your start with Holy Trinity?

My husband and I decided to join Holy Trinity in 2001. We moved from another parish because we felt very at home at Holy Trinity already knowing so many of the wonderful families in the church. We were fortunate to have a great core group of friends that were already parishioners, many of them with children the same ages as ours.  It helped us to become easily connected within our new church community. All four of our children attended Holy Trinity Parish School keeping our family very happy and involved!

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?

Many of my friends in the parish had also left the work force to stay at home with their children. They became involved in the parish by volunteering in the nursery, leading Children's Church, helping annually with vacation bible school, etc. Since our kids were benefiting from these services I felt comfortable in the parish right away so I was excited to jump in and get involved in the ministries with my children.

What sports did or do you Volunteer to help and for how long?

I have helped with cross country for six years. Initially I was an assistant coach but served as head coach for the past three years. We have been blessed with a strong cross country team for several years, much to the credit of the past two head coaches, Tom Noel and then Cathy Schneider. They were fantastic role models for the kids and parents! Their faith, dedication and passion for running helped build the CC program into what it is today. We currently have over 110 kids on our roster, grades first to eighth. It's a unique sport in which kids of all ages can be on the same team. All four of my children ran cross country, which has helped them in their other sports.

What's the connection with your faith and giving your time to student athletes?

It has been a blessing for me to be able to share my passion for running with the kids and their families as an act of stewardship for my parish. I love that while doing one of my favorite activities, I am also showing my own children how to use our God given talents for the good of others as well as our own. Running has become both spiritual and therapeutic for me. There are times during a morning run that I find myself feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for my health, athleticism and nature's beauty around me so it reminds me to offer up a prayer of thanks. I think it would be so great for the kids to have that same experience at some point in conjunction with their running.

Cross country is both a team sport and an individual one.  No child has to sit on the bench. Their finish is celebrated whether they come in first, 10th, or 90th because they have run the distance or possibly set a personal record. Each child can feel a sense of accomplishment no matter what their fitness level is in this great sport.  It's awesome to get to witness and share these experiences with the children and their families. 

Who was the most influential person in your volunteer career and why?

It's difficult for me to name any single person. We have so many terrific role models in our parish! I have been amazed by the time and efforts that my family members and friends have given to the church and their communities despite their long work hours. My husband Tom is one of them, as well as my parents, brother and sister. I come from a very "selfless" family. They all seem to come by it naturally, while I have to put forth a bit more effort sometimes!

What are your major themes/principles as a volunteer?

I try to encourage the kids to have a positive attitude and recognize their abilities. Running is hard so I ask them to try to learn to distinguish discomfort from real pain and to realize that they can push past the discomfort. When they find that they can keep running and finish a race despite the discomfort, they are bound to feel very proud of themselves. When we can distract ourselves from our own pain and focus on what others have endured the outcome is usually a positive one that makes us stronger. I also expect the children to show respect for themselves, their teammates, coaches and parents at all times. 

What does your role at Holy Trinity bring to your family?

I have found Holy Trinity to be the first parish where I feel very at home and comfortable.  It makes it easy to get involved when you enjoy being around the people.  In a Catholic parish community such as Holy Trinity my family is watching people serve each other and their community all of the time.  It becomes second nature when you are raised in an environment like that.  What a comfort it is to know that if we find ourselves facing a personal crisis or tragedy, we have an entire community of Christian friends that will help us through it.  That's what it's all about, right?

What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of your volunteer time?

I have to say the best part has been getting to know so many kids and their families I may not have met. When all four of my children attended Holy Trinity, I felt like I knew a great number of families. As they have graduated and I have become one of the "old moms", I have known fewer people. Coaching cross country has put me in the path of so many nice children and their families.

In addition to that, I must say there is nothing like seeing the ranges of emotions on the faces of our runners barreling to the finish line of a cross country meet. It inspires me to see the determination, smiles, tears, and sometimes pain and anguish as these runners, ages five to 14, learning to push themselves farther than they even knew that they could. It's so gratifying to witness their sense of accomplishment.


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