Rogers Family - A Family Fighting Back
The Rogers family is a family of self proclaimed “West-enders”. On a Sunday afternoon the Rogers family sits together and remembers their days at Thomas Jefferson with smiles and a series of “corrected” stories. All of the siblings and their parents are graduates of TJ, part of generations of Rogers’ and Council Bluffs Alum. Chris, 1976, (center) his wife Bonnie (Blackford) 1976 (right), Mark 1979, and Teresa (Rogers) Bohnet 1983 (left) gathered around a table recalling their days as Jackets.
Favorite memories of high school days had a common theme – the activities they were involved in. Teresa’s favorite memories surround her volleyball team and the fun they had going to the state tournament. She credits her coaches for more than just teaching the game, but teaching life lessons as well. Memories of the DECA trips to competitions evoke smiles and stories of “first-time” experiences. Chris was President of Trades and Industry, laughing when reflecting on his path in sales to those days at TJ. With a wink and a smile, Bonnie jokes that her favorite memory was meeting Chris, resulting in more teasing and groans from the group.
While the family is quick to tease one another, it is clear they are proud of each other and the CB School District they attended. When asked about what makes them most proud about their school, each agreed- the changes. The changes to the buildings including cosmetic and sustainability improvements to their alma mater are exciting to see. As parents and grandparents of children attending schools in the district, their perspective has changed from when they were students and are glad to see the enhanced facilities they attend.
After high school their paths all took different directions; Teresa to Iowa Western Community College and now working at Creighton University. Mark and Chris both found their places at work in a variety of roles in the local auto industry. Chris recently moved to Storm Lake, Iowa as part owner and managing partner of Edwards Storm Lake continuing his work in the auto world. Their brother Randy is currently in Wyoming where he operates a graphics company.
The family is also at work creating another legacy, helping to support the fight against cancer. The table they were sitting around served a dual purpose. This day, the table was the site of a committee planning meeting. As a family they have come together to host a golf tournament and benefit auction for the American Cancer Society in memory of their brother Rick (1974) whom they lost to cancer in 2002. Driving to and from Wyoming for work at the time, Chris had what he refers to as, “too much windshield time” which often led to ideas and projects. In 2010, after golfing in a variety of other benefit golf tournaments, he asked the family, “why don’t we host our own tournament in honor of Rick?”. After a meeting with the local chapter of the ACS, the wheels behind the Bluffs Omaha Swing Fore the Cure Golf Event were set in motion. In June of 2011 the first annual event was held, raising over $20,000. Over the next five years the family would go on to raise roughly $182,000 to support the fight. The family will again host the now 2-day event on June 11th and 12th. The family is proud of what they have created, but are also very thankful. The support from the area and community supporters is what makes the event so humbling they say. The connections they have made over the years help fuel their motivation to create a bigger and better event each year.
Those genuine connections are what make the Rogers family who they are. Being from Council Bluffs, the “small town feel” transcends the years since graduation. From their 10 year reunions that they all remember fondly to this year’s 40th for the Class of 1976, one thing remains the same. Whenever they meet their classmates, they are the first armed with a smile, a “hello” and a “good to see you”. They will all continue to run into teachers and classmates on the golf course as they continue to connect cars, golf and the fight against cancer.