Marysville Tulalip Chamber celebrates Rogers’ return | SLIDESHOW

MARYSVILLE — The Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce celebrated the return of one of its most-missed members on Wednesday, July 18, as its Regional Visitor Information Center hosted an evening in honor of Chamber President and CEO Caldie Rogers.

Area business owners, elected officials, Naval personnel and representatives of the city of Marysville, the Tulalip Tribes, Snohomish County and the state of Washington attended to pay tribute to Rogers, and those who couldn’t pass on their well-wishes in person sent their compliments to her.

Rogers was joined by her son, Nate Hanson, in extending their thanks to the Chamber as a whole for supporting her as a surrogate family during her extended illness.

“My own family had all died by the time I was 32,” Rogers said. “You learn to love God and find a family in your friends. This Chamber’s Board of Directors did not give up on me.”

Rogers singled out a number of attendees for special recognition, including Connie Drecke for helping Rogers shower and clean her house when she was too weak to perform those tasks on her own,  Kynda Roberts of Creative Hair Design for setting up beauty appointments for her and aiding her in picking up her prescriptions, and Jeanie Kitchens of Naval Station Everett for swinging by for round-the-clock visits.

“Melissa West came all the way up from Las Vegas,” Rogers said. “Judy Coover, who’s on the Board of the Association of Washington Business, fought the traffic time and again to come up from Burien with food and groceries. When you live alone, you can’t afford not to be able to take care of yourself. When I was down to 89 pounds, I thought the Chamber had bet on a bad horse and that I’d let you all down.”

Rogers likewise deemed Bill Scrupps of Scrupps Development “my brother from another family,” whose family had all but adopted her and included her in occasions such as holiday get-togethers.

“I knew I was getting better a couple of months ago when he spent half an hour yelling on my deck about how hard it was to watch the condition I’d been in,” Rogers laughed.

Rogers acknowledged how hard it had been for her son to watch her health deteriorate, reminding her audience that “caregivers need as much care as the people they’re caring for,” before she presented a plaque to Chamber Board Chair John Bell, whose inscription literally rewrote the Webster’s Dictionary definition of “hero” to include his name.

“He never signed up to carry all of this,” said Rogers, who pointed out that Bell’s birthday went without a party on Tuesday, July 18, which she remedied with a cake that the Chamber had been saving to surprise Bell. “He kept the Chamber moving forward, but he never said to let me go.”

“The challenges of directing the operations of the Chamber during Caldie’s absence were exceeded only by my pride in our Board of Directors, whose faith in Caldie’s return and whose support for my decisions were crucial in keeping the Chamber vital, relevant to the business communities of Marysville and Tulalip, and moving in a direction of growth and value for our communities,” said Bell, who’s already been working with Rogers to ensure that she’s fully informed about all aspects of the Chamber’s activities during her absence. “We had faith that Caldie would come back.”

“For the longest while, I couldn’t read, I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t even focus,” said Rogers, who was pleased to be greeted by Chamber Office Administrator Sylvia Johnston, Business Development Representative Maureen DePuy and a number of other “incredible new staff members” who had been brought on board in her absence. “My doctor wishes I wasn’t doing this until after Labor Day, but with your love and support, I’ve got a can-do attitude. We’re about to unveil a slew of new member benefits. This Chamber is here, we’re strong and we’re about to break all records.”


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