COLUMBIA, S.C., June 21, 2016 — Who is your role model? A past teacher? A neighbor? Your boss? These important people are essential in helping to guide us through life.
For Army Sgt. Carl Rogers, a readiness noncommissioned officer with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 2nd Security and Support Battalion,151st Aviation Regiment, the person who has guided him and continues to set an important example is his father.
When Rogers was just a toddler, his father, Alfred, was an active-duty soldier at Fort Polk, Louisiana. It was during this time that Alfred fought for custody of his children.
"I remember him telling me stories about being a single father with two kids on post," Rogers said. "He hired babysitters and accepted whatever help he could just so he could do what he loved to do: serve his country."
As a junior soldier during that time, Alfred struggled financially.
"I remember one night when I was a toddler, a lady delivered a trash bag full of toys for my sister and I," Rogers said. "Never have I seen a man weep like he did, but he put his pride to the side to make us happy."
After leaving the military, Alfred worked for years as a truck driver while their grandmother helped to raise Rogers and his sister.
Molded an Understanding
"Seeing what my father was willing to sacrifice for his children molded an understanding of what being a man, parent and human was about," Rogers said. "Not until I got divorced almost five years ago did I realize what his impression on me was meant for. It played a very vital role in keeping me resilient and vivacious for success -- not only for myself, but for my daughter as well. My father showed me what it means to be a man and a father, and that is why I strive to be half the man that he is."
Rogers has followed in his father's footsteps and serves in the South Carolina Army National Guard while also raising his daughter by himself, exactly as his father did.
"My dad knows the struggle of being a single parent in the military," Rogers said. "He supports me in following my dreams. He wants me to finish what he started.
"The way my dad lived his life, the way he always smiled, the energy he found somehow, is nothing less than commensurate of the most exemplary role model," Rogers continued. "I would be bold enough to say that he redefines those words."
Rogers said he and Alfred always spend Father’s Day together, working in the yard, eating, reminiscing and feeling grateful.
"He is a testament to all fathers that it will always get better if you never give up," Rogers said.