ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) — Folks in Bladen County are banding together to collect items to keep those in need warm this winter, and all in memory of an Elizabethtown man remembered for his selflessness.
“He loved everyone. Everyone loved Roger,” said Jeffrey Bryan, a freelance journalist who knew Roger Grunder for about 3 years.
October is known as Roger’s month in Elizabethtown. Roger Grunder became a Bladen County icon best remembered for giving back to others, even when he didn’t have much for himself.
“He was a selfless person and just had an incredible spirit about him,” Bryan said. “He himself was homeless for nearly 3 years and yet he was out reaching out to other people.”
Roger died in a car accident about 3 years ago, but he has never been forgotten. The folks at The Bladen Journal stepped right in where Roger left off. They started a collection of blankets, sleeping bags, and other items to keep people warm as the temperature drops.
“We never talk about whether ‘if Roger were here to see this.’ We talk about the fact that he is. I mean he is a part of this every single time we do this,” said Curt Vincent, the Editor and General Manager of The Bladen Journal.
For those involved, the pay off is seeing the happiness they are able to bring to those who need it most.
“That’s our true reward really. To see people come in and they’re just so happy that something like this is done. There’s some needy folks in Bladen County. I mean there is no question about it. And to see them come in and have the opportunity to choose something that’s desperately needed, that really touches our heart,” Vincent said.
Donations will continue to be accepted through the end of the week, so ‘Roger’s Wish’ becomes a reality yet again this year.
“I know he would be very proud of all this. And I feel like he’s watching it from heaven,” Bryan said.
‘Roger’s Wish’ will announce a day at the start of next month where folks in Bladen County can come out and select an item for free from the collection to help them this winter. This year they are hoping to give out over 200 items.