A real life hero

Volunteer honored with Heroes for Children Award

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Photo by Sydney Steed

Roger Waldrep carries the spirit necessities for a Friday night football game. Waldrep was honored for his volunteer work Sept. 20 in Austin with a Heroes for Children Award.

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Story by Caroline May, staff writer

He’s the man working tirelessly behind the grill at the concession stand. He’s the man doing the heavy lifting for the leadership program. He’s the man who would rather critique a movie with his wife’s film class than sit at home.

It’s a tough life, but, hey, it’s a family thing.

Volunteer Roger Waldrep was honored Sept. 20 in Austin as one of 15 to receive the Heroes for Children award for all of the things he loves to do. He credits his childhood for making him the heroic person he is today.

“I think it’s just my family as a whole, the way we were raised,” Waldrep said. “You’re raised to volunteer to help people. That’s something Susan, my parents, and I have always done. It’s second nature to a lot of people to do things because it’s just the way you were raised,”

Although Waldrep is humble about receiving the award, 2013 graduate John David Goins is completely convinced that Waldrep deserves this award above all others.

“I can imagine no better person to win this award,” Goins said. “The work Roger has been doing goes well beyond cooking, driving kids in the school vehicle, and moving boxes. While Roger is doing these things, he is constantly interacting with students. Whether he simply makes them laugh or gives them fatherly advice to help solve a problem in their life, Roger has a way of making students feel good about themselves.”

The reason behind all of his hard work is just to get the students involved. He wants the kids to be able to make memories with their school before it is too late.

“I always try to tell kids, ‘Don’t waste your time’,” Waldrep said. “Find something you’re passionate about and do it. Be in a club. Be in an organization. Be active in something. Don’t just let school pass you by without doing something.’”

Madeleine Russell, 2013 graduate and one of the students who wrote an essay to nominate Waldrep for the award, remembers Waldrep always encouraging students to be involved.

“From walking seniors who didn’t have an escort across the field at senior night, to cooking at every event known to man, Roger is always there when you need him,” Russell said. “I can’t think of many great memories from high school without Roger being in them. He truly is the most deserving person in the world for this award.”

Principal Brad Bailey also agreed that Waldrep was perfect for the award and is grateful to have a guy like Waldrep around to help the students no matter the issue.

“Texas High School and TISD are very proud of Roger for receiving this award,” Bailey said. “When you look at the criteria for receiving this award, it describes Roger Waldrep. A person who exemplifies service, time, effort and support to public schools and who is an advocate for students. The service he provides is not for fame or recognition, it is because he loves the kids. He is the role model, the father, the ‘go to guy,’ and the friend. We need more people like Roger Waldrep working with our students and being the Hero for Children.”

It certainly isn’t fame or recognition that fuels Waldrep. The basis of all of his volunteering is just because he thinks it’s the right thing to do.

“I don’t really know that what we do is anything special,” Waldrep said. “It’s just what we do.”