Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Thankful for Joe Rodgers

It'd be nearly impossible to be politically active in Tennessee without knowing who Joe Rodgers was but my thin connection with him wasn't political, it was charitable.

About 18 years ago our small church decided to sponsor a older Ukrainian couple immigrate to Nashville. Since I was a stay-at-home mom of one (with one on the way) I had some time to help out. This was a delightful couple and I still have a warm spot in my heart for them despite not having seen them since they moved to another state. There were, obviously, a lot of things that needed to be done to make their transition to the US successful. There were appointments with the Social Security Administration, the Health Department, dentist, English lessons, shopping at Kroger training and obtaining employment to mention a few.

Obtaining a job was an essential component of their being able to stay in America--something they very much wanted to do. Joe Rodgers and his wife agreed to have this couple come into their home and work for them. I'm still amazed at the generosity of that act. Complete strangers, from another culture, not knowing the language, not knowing so many things that seem common to us about how to run a home with all the modern conveniences yet they took on this enormous task of transitioning them from one culture to another. I can't say for sure how well that situation worked out for the Rodgers but I do know that this immigrant couple were always thankful for the helping hand the Rodgers' extended to them during this major life change. Mention the Rodgers and you could tell immediately that this couple was appreciative of their help. So what I will read about the life of Joe Rodgers in the papers or will see on the broadcasts in the next few days will be seen through the grateful eyes of Leonid and Tatayana. Joe may have walked with presidents but he also walked with the humble who only wanted the freedom America is famous for.

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