Community member endeavors 'to serve people'
Mark Rogers knew at a young age that his calling was to help others.
“I decided I wanted to serve people when I was in high school and I went to college with that in mind,” he said. “I wanted to serve people through my church, so I went to college with a mindset to know the Bible.”
Rogers, a longtime Hillsboro resident, now functions as a jack-of-all-trades in doing good for others. His roles range from substitute teaching and working as coordinator for Marion County Core Communities, a poverty assistance group, to helping distribute monthly commodities in Marion.
“I like people,” he said. “I think I have some gifts in building relationships with people who are struggling, people who are facing difficulties. I have access to food and other resources to connect with them and I enjoy what I do.”
“I try to meet people where they’re at and see if there’s some way I can support them to move forward on their dreams,” he said.
Rogers added driving grain trucks for local trucking company Pleasant Hill to his list of chores this year, since COVID-19 limited the ability to work as a substitute teacher.
Not one to rest for too long, Rogers recently added another task. He drives to Alden once a month to pick up hundreds of pounds in food donations from Pantry of Blessings, a bulk food pantry.
He packs a pickup truck with whatever is being offered, which can range from frozen potatoes or 20-pound boxes of fresh produce, to chicken.
“That was interesting trying to find freezer space for all that,” he said. “The vegetables, the produce and chicken, you can use it quicker. Bacon takes a little longer to get rid of, I think, unless some people use it like duct tape in the kitchen.”
One of his first experiences serving others on a local scale came when he started as an employee at Prairie View in Hillsboro 20 years ago, shortly after moving to the area.
Working as a case manager for children in the county, Rogers’ experience snowballed into one volunteer opportunity after another.
Working with so many groups over the years taught him to keep an open mind.
“It gives you new perspective to problems and solutions,” he said. “Yes, it opens your mind to the human spirit and tenacity to hang in there and keep going. You learn new ways to keep going.”
While no longer working at Prairie View, the experienced has proven helpful when he steps into a classroom, as well.
“Kids are doing the best they can with what they have,” her said. “They’re trying to do good at school; they’re trying to do good on the playground, and a big part of classroom teaching now is individually connecting with kids.”
Last modified Dec. 2, 2020