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Member Spotlight: Meet Rob Rogers, American Red Cross AmeriCorps VISTA Member February 24, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Member Spotlight.
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Rob Rogers is an AmeriCorps VISTA member assigned through the American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps to the Community Blueprint Network at the American Red Cross. In his assignment as a Community Blueprint coordinator, Rob is responsible for the development and implementation of topical content, support tools, project infrastructure and community decision-making structures and processes to execute the Community Blueprint in the areas of education and volunteerism. Prior to joining the Call to Service Corps, Rob held positions in restoration with All-Clean Restoration. Rob holds a master’s degree in international affairs and administration from Missouri State University. Rob is a veteran of the United States Army.

What motivated you to serve as an AmeriCorps member?
The opportunity to work with the military community motivated me to volunteer for AmeriCorps VISTA. I grew up on base, and I have always felt a connection to those who choose to put the needs of their community before their own desires.

In my service year, I have been rewarded by meeting Jake Wood, Victoria Pridemore and Dani Molina. These veterans have sacrificed as much as any other for their country and upon their return home they immediately set out to help their communities. After three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan Victoria joined AmeriCorps VISTA and currently volunteers with the Veterans Innovation Center. Jake Wood is one of the founders of Team Rubicon. Dani Molina serves with Student Veterans of America and is researching veterans in higher education at UCLA. These people really are the next greatest generation.

I have also spent my year surrounded by the men and women of the American Red Cross’s Service to the Armed Forces Branch. I have been continuously impressed by their discipline, dedication, competence and compassion.

What motivated you to choose your sponsor organization?
When my dad went away for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the American Red Cross was there. I learned first aid, CPR and how to swim from Red Cross volunteers. Later, I used these skills for my first after-school-job as a lifeguard. There were two severe ice storms in the town where I went to college and one time the entire region was declared a disaster area. A whole city was deathly quiet when I went outside, except for relief trucks with the red cross on the side. Whenever you see footage of people in trouble on the news, a Red Cross volunteer always seems to walk past the camera.

What accomplishment from your year of service are you most proud?
I am most proud of contributing what I learned about theatre and catharsis and transferring that knowledge into a promising practice within the Community Blueprint Network. Using the Greek tragedies, which were written for and by combat veterans, helps America’s fighting men and women realize that their challenges are as old as civilization itself. That knowledge will hopefully fill them with the same confidence they enjoyed while in uniform. When this new promising practice is implemented in communities across the country, it will provide a new way for civilians to interact with the veteran community — one that doesn’t include treating veterans as victims. I hope that replication of this promising practice will help at least a few veterans to surmount their feelings and experiences and move forward in life.

What are your plans after your AmeriCorps service year?
When I finish my AmeriCorps service year, I hope to continue to support the defense community. This is a group of men and women who give of themselves to provide the globe with security and relief and I am proud to associate with them.

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