One idea can change a community. On Oct. 20, 2004, more than 400 people paid tribute to a man who proved it: former president and Chief Executive Officer of Ohio Edison Company Justin T. Rogers, the 37th recipient of the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award. Justin’s grandfather was a doctor and, for years, Justin considered practicing medicine himself. He served as an after-school summer orderly at a small-town hospital during WWII. It was there that he saw the need for better care of terminally ill patients.
In the early 1990s, Justin impacted the lives of people locally. He chaired a campaign to raise funds to construct a freestanding hospice facility in the Akron area. Today, that facility bears his name: the Justin T. Rogers Care Center of Visiting Nurse Service.
Justin has devoted much of his time and energy to public service. In addition to acting as chair and trustee to both Akron Community Foundation and Akron Child Guidance Center, Justin served as a trustee of Leadership Akron, Akron Regional Development Board, Ohio Public Expenditure Council, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, and Western Reserve Economic Development Council. He is a past member of the Akron Priority Group, is a founding member of Akron Tomorrow, and has headed campaigns for both University of Akron Associates and United Way-Red Cross of Summit County. He currently serves on the boards of Akron General Health System and Akron General Medical Center, and is a past chair of Akron Associated Health Agencies.
"A humanitarian is one who promotes the general welfare of humanity, and that is Justin Rogers," said former Akron Community Foundation President Jody Bacon. "The first time I met Justin he was speaking about leadership, and over the years, I have seen his leadership build a better and more compassionate life for us all, both in the corporate world and in this community."
It is this kind of compassion that epitomizes the enduring spirit of humanitarianism.