Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"I Don't Know What That Means"

That's what Beth told me in the car this afternoon.

She showed me the newsletter she brought home from bowling. She pointed to the top sentence and said, "They talk about this." I asked her if she knew what 'passed away' means.

She shook her head no. When I told her, she closed her eyes and laid her head back on the head rest.

The newsletter read, "For those of you that have not heard, Gene Rogoway passed away on Friday and he will be sorely missed. Gene was the Founder and visionary of All Aboard and a strong advocate for the special needs population."

When Gene's son Mike turned 21 and left the school system, there was not much for him to do. Gene called a few of his friends (all special needs) and invited them bowling, to the movies. People found out and wanted to be a part of it. More and more young adults got involved and Gene knew this was bigger than anything he originally planned!

All Aboard now has many programs and activities for adults with special needs. Each week they have a cooking class, bowling, karaoke, art, swimming. Beth has been a part of it for a few years now and really loves it. It's become her main social outlet. Their Tuesday bowling league has over 120 participants and is one of the largest in the state!

I don't know how his son Mike is doing. Beth said he wasn't at bowling today. He had been living with a friend; moved in with Shannon (All Aboard music teacher) when his dad became sick 2 years ago.

Gene will be missed. He has been a friend and mentor to many, many adults in our community.

You can click on All Aboard to learn more about this amazing program.


Becca said...

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. It sounds like he left an amazing legacy. My thoughts are with his son tonight.

Nan said...

What a wonderful legacy, what a loss. So glad there was time, though, to create something that keeps giving back. Hugs and BRAVO to all those sung and unsung everyday heros who enrich the lives of those around them and create community.