James Perry thought he was supposed to go to a meeting with judges Thursday afternoon, but he ended being honored with an award.

James Perry thought he was supposed to go to a meeting with judges Thursday afternoon, but he ended being honored with an award.

"I was overwhelmed," he said.

Perry is the juvenile accountability officer for the Leavenworth County Department of Juvenile Services. He was presented the Leavenworth County Bar Association's Liberty Bell Award during an annual Law Day observance at the Justice Center.

The Bar Association presents the award each year to someone who is not an attorney but has provided public service to the people of Leavenworth County.

Sean Crittendon, director of Leavenworth County Department of Juvenile Services, introduced Perry for the award presentation.

Perry has earned the respect of everyone he has worked with and has a big heart when dealing with children and their families, said Crittendon, who is a past recipient of the Liberty Bell Award.

Crittendon said Perry had a rough childhood and moved around a lot while growing up in Texas.

"He really understands poverty and transience," Crittendon said.

Perry served in the Army for 23 years. After retiring from the Army, he went to work for Corrections Corporation of America. He left CCA in 2001 to work with juvenile offenders in the county.

Crittendon said Perry is "someone I can definitely count on."

Perry said he likes working with the Department of Juvenile Services to see if he can change children's attitudes and help them have productive lives.

"We try our very best," he said.

Established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Law Day is held each year on May 1.

Thursday's observance by the Leavenworth County Bar Association included remarks by Reginald Robinson, director of the Center for Law and Government at Washburn University School of Law.

Robinson remarks touched upon the theme for this year's Law Day ― "American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters."

He said there are significant anniversaries of the civil rights milestones coming up, including the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

Robinson discussed voter registration laws in Arizona and Kansas and court decisions that have impacted these laws.

He said Kansas is at the epicenter of the issue of balancing voter access with concern that people who are registering are qualified to vote.

"These issues will be resolved, I think, contentiously over the course of the next few years," he said.

He said "these are important issues for all of us to think about and reflect on."