FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Hometown Hero: Roy Rogers’ close call with death helps him find life’s purpose

Hometown Heroes

MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) –  Menasha’s Roy Rogers went to the War in Vietnam in 1965 with the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I figured, the Lord kept me alive for some reason and I’ve given my life to doing things for my veterans and other people,” Rogers said.

He ended up being one of the lucky ones.

“My parents didn’t have any faith in the fact that once I was going to Vietnam, that I’d ever come home,” said Rogers.

And Rogers almost didn’t come home.

He spent 15 months in Chu Lai Southern Vietnam with the 4th Marines Foxtrot Company.

Just before he was set to come home, Rogers’ life would change forever.

“I had four days left in Vietnam, all packed up and ready to come home and I went out on patrol, and as fate would have it I stepped on a landmine,” he said.

That landmine took part of Rogers’ left hand, earned him a purple heart, and left him in the hospital for more than a year.

When he recovered from his injuries, a doctor helped Rogers realize there was still some recovering to do mentally.

“This was before PTSD was really known, and (the doctor) said if I didn’t want my problems to surface about Vietnam, I should talk about it,” Rogers said.

For the last five decades, that’s exactly what Rogers has done.

He travels, giving talks at local churches and high schools, and helps other veterans to open up about their experience in the service through the various local veteran’s organizations he’s a part of.

A big part of Rogers’ life though is at Disabled American Veterans. Rogers’ uncle, a WWII Vet, enrolled Rogers in the DAV upon his injury in 1966, before he ever knew what it would mean to him.

“I’ve really attached myself to the veteran’s cause,” said Rogers. “I’d rather talk about it than keep it inside me, and hopefully what I contribute is- as little as it is, I hope it helps.”

Have someone you’d like to nominate for Hometown Hero? Let us know below!

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