Q&A With Jerry Rohane
The opportunities out in God’s world… you can’t manufacture them. You’ve got to be out there in it… experiencing and exploring.
Jerry Rohane is President of Western Builders, a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church and the board of The Children’s Home and an outdoor enthusiast. He had the incredible experience of working for the US Forest Service as a wilderness guard during summers in college and has a deeply personal understanding of the growth and joy that comes through connecting with nature.
How did you become involved with The Children’s Home?
My wife and I have attended Westminster Presbyterian for over 33 years. We’ve known the kids and been financial supporters. Western Builders built one of the first play-homes. We’ve gotten more and more into it over the years.
When I joined the board in 2010, I was assigned to the building committee with Dick Doyle and other board and staff members. Right away, we examined the issues with the current facility. The staff was involved in developing a “best ever” plan for the campus. It became real apparent real fast that our current site was too small. We looked at purchasing properties in the surrounding neighborhood in order to expand, but estimates showed that path to be horrendously expensive. It became obvious that the only option for improvement was to purchase land.
What happened then?
We started looking for the ideal location taking into account access to schools, hospitals and activities as well as vegetation and changes in elevation. We nailed our dream area down to the northwest part of town – more specifically, near 9th and Soncy.
We looked at several properties, but none were just right. We were beginning to think that we would need to extend our search to the South of town when the State started planning some extreme changes to foster care. This created an uncertainty that forced us to put off making any big decisions for about a year. Finally, this past summer all the “what if’s” had been settled, and President Darrin Murphy was online – it was time to get going again. We began pursuing several different leads for funding, including some very interested donors. We heard that the Girl Scouts were selling some property and tried to chase it down only to eventually get ahold of someone who let us know we were on the wrong track, and that was over.
So you thought…
So we thought. About a month later, Girl Scout authorities made the determination to sell 100 acres. In November we toured the site. It’s just perfect. From a construction perspective, it’s beautiful… Regarding access – it’s really nice… For the kids getting to have an outdoor experience – that’s really what it’s all about.
All of the avenues of potential funding that we had identified weren’t readily available. It just wasn’t happening. Then, all of a sudden, a large bequest came in – completely unexpected. Suddenly we had a way to go after this amazing piece of land. We made an offer on a Wednesday at 4:00. At 6:00, we got the acceptance call. The realtor told us that someone from the Girl Scouts said, “This is such a perfect fit.” We think so too.
You can just see God’s hand through the whole thing.
None of us are smart enough to pull this together, to see the whole picture. The delays that held our hand from buying another piece of property… Everytime we hit a road block – looking back it’s like, “thank you, God, for that redirection” pointing us where we needed to be.