|Updated: 8/23/2012 6:32 pm
||Published: 8/23/2012 6:15 pm
Wayne Perego went to work at 8:30 Wednesday morning, but he forgot his briefcase. Two hours later he went back to his Locust Grove home to get it. But he immediately became suspicious when he saw his dogs loose in the front yard. As he walked up to his home he found 11 different hateful gay slurs spray painted all over house.
"[I was in] disbelief that somebody could do that," Perego said. "It just blows our minds."
"I never thought that hate could get that close. And when I saw it, I just started crying."
By Thursday afternoon Perego had done all he could to cover up the ugly words.
He and his partner have no idea who could be responsible. But Sunday night his partner was outside when a car he had never seen in the neighborhood before drove by as the people inside yelled similarly hateful gay slurs out the windows.
"They looked [to be] in their mid 30s," he said.
Perego can't figure out why his sexual orientation would bother someone else so much.
"We live our life very private. And, you know, we don't bother people."
As president of the local chamber of commerce, he always felt accepted and even respected by his community.
"That's our whole shock is why would they do that, and why we're targeted," he said. "I don't know."
But despite the hateful message, Perego has also seen a lot of support.
"[We've been] overwhelmed with neighbors coming to talk to us, saying 'hey, we'll do what we can.' We've actually had the senior center want to provide the paint to re-paint our house."
Norman Crisp is one of those caring neighbors, and says Perego and his partner are great people who have always been there to help others in the area.
"People has (sic) a right to live their lives the way they want to," Crisp said. "Yo know what I'm saying? And it bothers me because I wouldn't want somebody doing something like that to me."
Perego isn't sure the vandals will ever be caught. But he has a message he hopes they will hear.
"If we can get people to understand that, you know, human beings are human beings. And that's all that matters."
The Cherokee County Sheriff's office is investigating the incident as a hate crime. Anybody with information is asked to call the sheriff's office.