Opinion: A legacy of involvement

Stan Rogers left a lasting mark on Chilliwack, not just in business, but also through his community work.

To call him a community builder would be an understatement.

There was hardly an event, hardly a fund raiser, hardly a function that Stan Rogers – and the company he led – wasn’t part of.

Rogers died suddenly Wednesday night, struck down by a possible heart attack.

His death leaves a hole in Chilliwack, not only in the business community, but also in the myriad of philanthropic projects he was involved with.

Rogers is perhaps best known for what he did to help Chilliwack’s flagging economy in the late 90s. In the shadow of the departure of several food processing facilities, his company – Legacy Pacific – stanched the bleeding, opening its sprawling warehouse facility, then securing construction of the Rogers flour mill a few years later.

He was on the verge of bringing to Chilliwack one of the largest freeze dried processing facilities in Canada when the global economic meltdown occurred in 2008.

Bowed but not beaten, he continued work to develop industrial properties in Chilliwack, bringing jobs and economic benefit to the city.

He wasn’t shy to say Legacy Pacific was the single largest taxpayer in the city. It wasn’t a complaint (although he did explore creative ways to lessen that sting), but rather a proud testament to the economic importance his company was to Chilliwack.

But it wasn’t just the business side of things that Rogers was passionate about.

He was a proud and active Rotarian, and lent his expertise to several community boards and non-profit societies. Even in difficult times his company could be counted on to support the many fundraising events that punctuate the Chilliwack calendar.

He was an unapologetic federal Liberal supporter in a traditionally Conservative region. But it wasn’t the political stripe that was most important, but rather the participation in the process. Democracy, he said, was not a spectator sport.

And neither was being a member of the community. As busy as Rogers was (Blackberry always by his side), he seemed never too busy to be part of making Chilliwack stronger.

Because that’s what a community builder does.