Get to know Boots for Troops co-founder Jimmy Rogers as the annual Concert in the Country fundraiser approaches
Jimmy Rogers co-founded Boots for Troops, a Magnolia-based nonprofit, in 2015 with his wife, Lindsey, following Jimmy’s deployment to the US Navy. (Courtesy of Jimmy Rogers)
Jimmy Rogers co-founded Boots for Troops, a Magnolia-based nonprofit, in 2015 with his wife, Lindsey, following Jimmy’s deployment to the US Navy. The Rogers are graduates of Tomball High School.
Boots for Troops provides quality personalized care packages to active-duty military personnel around the world, helps pay for military travel expenses and is launching a military spouses scholarship in 2022, Rogers said. The goal of Boots for Troops is to boost morale, he said.
Its annual fundraiser, Concert in the Country, returns to Magnolia on October 16 with music by Pat Green, Jake Worthington, Bonnie Bishop, Chad Prather and the Ragamuffins and Daniel Holmes. Food trucks, vendors and a barbecue will also be on site. Doors open at 3 p.m. at 32931 Wright Road, Magnolia. General admission tickets are available online.
Rogers said more than 3,200 customers attended the event in 2020.
âWe are just very grateful for all the support the community has shown us,â said Rogers.
Where did the idea for Boots for Troops come from?
The idea came in 2015. I was actually deployed in the Navy, so I was on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. â¦ We received care packages from other organizations at home. Everyone was grateful to have something from their home. What I saw was we were getting these boxes full of melted candy, old magazines – it seemed like it was all leftovers from department stores and things people didn’t really want, and a lot of it. was wasted. I started to think one day … not only about the quality of the care package, but a few people in my work center did not get anything. These two things kind of inspired me to start the organization.
I thought we could send better care packages, and [if] we consider as Americans that we come from the greatest country in the world, so we should send the best items and the best care packages to our troops.
Our very first event was Tomball Night 2015, and we raised $ 300, I think. … The whole story of the boots comes because I’m from Texas. â¦ I used to wear cowboy boots on freedom and a lot of guys from different parts of the country were like, âDude, I need boots like this. “… When we started the program, we were sending personalized care packages with new pairs of boots – we were sending cowboy boots, motorcycle boots, it wasn’t about providing the boots for the troops. ; it was to boost morale.
How has Boots for Troops changed since its inception?
In the first three years, we’ve kind of moved to a place where probably 90% of our packages come with combat uniforms and boots now, as the service member actually chooses the pair of boots they want. wants.
Over the years we have added additional programs: our Warrior Morale Project, [in which] during holidays or emergencies we will start booking flights for service members E4 and below to return to their hometown to spend Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Years with their family and then bring them back to base at no cost to the service member.
Next year, in 2022, we are launching … a scholarship fund for military spouses. We are going to put the spouses of military personnel who are on active duty with their husbands or wives at university and try to help them graduate. So when the military’s family leaves active service and returns to civilian life, the whole family or husband and wife are better prepared and educated or have some sort of training to find employment.
How many care packages have been sent?
We started in our early years sending a few hundred a year, I would say we were sending 20 or 30 a month. Last year we sent about 975 of them. This year we’re about to be somewhere around the same amount, maybe a little more. As it has grown over the past five years with support and funding, we start to send more every year, but we never want to send more just to send more. Our goal is the quality of the care package and the impact of the care package. … For us, quality takes precedence over quantity.
How do you determine where the packages are sent?
We receive requests from the military. They can go to our website and request a package. … Our demand for the program is huge. We are unable to meet all the demand. … These are mainly referrals and word of mouth. A package is coming somewhere and everyone is going to ask for one.
What happens in a treatment pack?
Each person who requests a package will receive a form to fill out. … once we get everything they asked for, we end the box with what we call fillers, so additional items like jerky beef, mixed nuts, items toiletries to fill the package to the top. We only send the best things. … We are able to customize each package for each person. â¦ People will say, âOh, I miss those cookies from my local bakeryâ. We’ll call that bakery and collect the cookies and put them in the box. We strive to make it special and personalized.
How can the community help?
We are always looking for volunteers; we are always looking for help. In January 2022, we will be moving into a new office building in downtown Tomball, right across from the post office. We’re going to have a fundraiser to pay for this office building. …
Country concert we do every year in October – people attend and participate, go out, buy t-shirts, [and] every ticket sale goes to the organization. … Really just getting the community involved in this event and getting everyone to support makes a big difference in our ability to continue to function..
As a veteran, what have been the biggest challenges for the military community over the past year?
Many of us are heartbroken by what happened in Afghanistan, especially if you have served in the region … for the past 20 years. If you’ve spent any time there to watch it fall, it’s pretty heartbreaking. â¦ From what I see in the veterans community, there are challenges in the workforce, and I think veterans are misunderstood. â¦ People think that every veteran has a problem with PTSD, and I think that not enough is said about the fact that the majority of vets are actuallyâ¦ very well. I don’t have PTSD. … But when I say I’m a veteran, they want to ask that question. … I think it’s just a lack of education of the American people. â¦ I see there is a lot of support, appreciation and love for what our troops are doing, especially in Texas, and I am very grateful for that.
Responses may have been edited for length and clarity.