21. getting it done. (with a smile)

 (#21 in a series of people who changed the course of my life)

I am particularly drawn to folks who are reliable, who know how to get things done, who, beating all odds against them, somehow manage to keep sight of what’s important and never give up.

How fortunate am I to have had a mentor who is precisely this kind of person—with a quick wit to boot. Roger Stanley—beloved by and relied upon by so many through the years—is one of the most resourceful, and genial, folks I’ve encountered.

roger coh

I can only imagine what it would have been like to run with Roger and his circle of friends back in the 70s. (Just the few stories I’ve heard indicate these folks lived vibrantly!) And I can only begin to imagine the depth of his grief as he lost most of them, one-by-one, to the AIDS pandemic only then to struggle with his own health challenges.

Roger with a group of friends committed to the cause of the Red Ribbon–the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV

Yet this stylish, well connected man of deep faith has never let any of that stop him. I believe much of what motivates him is a desire to honor the memories of those already gone and to preserve the contributions of his generation. People know they can rely on him to be there, that he is the go-to person for much of our history in the movement and our church…and that he’s always going to say something to crack you up. He will be the first to tell you he is not a perfect man, but he is as fine a gentleman as I have or will likely ever meet.

I’m thankful I’ve gotten to get to know Roger and work alongside him for at least a few years. I go forward into my work, greatly informed, connected, and likely still chuckling over his last hilarious aside.

todd roger

PS: Happy Birth Anniversary, Roger!

22. paving the way

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