Those who know Roger Raasch know where to find him on Monday mornings. For the past ten years the 73 year-old has volunteered at the Stokes Family YMCA offering a friendly hello, working with stroke victims, or providing counseling for those struggling with addictions. People also know to expect a penned “Thought of the Week” he writes and hands out each Thursday.
“When I sit down to write it I try to use current events to gain interest and include scripture and a lesson,” he said.
Rassch retired from a successful family business at 55 to venture into full-time missions work which led him and his wife Audrey to Asia, Africa, Europe, and Central America. Although he believes missionaries never slow down, the couple agreed to spend time with each of their four adult children.
“We decided to spend a year with each child. We rented a place close to them and when we came to visit our daughter in King we got hung up here because we loved the city and the people so much,” he said.
Raasch quickly picked up where he left off on the missions field leading Bible study groups and counseling those in need. Recently he was reminded of the importance of slowing down and being intentional with his grandchildren.
“Being a grandparent is important and spending time with them is too. They need to feel the focus of your attention. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing; they should just know you’re all theirs,” he said.
Raasch and his wife, along with two of their daughters and three grandchildren ages 11, 14, and 15 made their way to Danbury to tube down the Dan River.
“Midweek it’s only six dollars for a tube,” he said. “I’ve kayaked and canoed the Dan but I’d never tubed.”
Raasch led his family to the Seven Mile Bridge for a two and a half-hour excursion down the river. The adults tied their tubes together and the kids did the same.
“It’s easy for one to catch a current and the other won’t and then you’re beyond conversation distance,” he said.
The group enjoyed the mountainous views and stopped sporadically to skip rocks or pick up shells. As they swished down the river laughing and making memories he was once again reminded to savor the moments with his family.
“We have to stop and remember life is short. I council adult men who’s dad never told them they were loved. As parents and grandparents we have to affirm our children. Tell them we love them regardless of their grades, performances, appearance, their stature,” he said. “We have to recognize that the window of opportunity to effect the lives of children is a window not a revolving door.”
“Get into nature, it’s a refreshing experience. We have so many outdoor resources in our county which gives us great opportunities to invest in our families.”
Roger Raasch can be found on Monday’s from 9:30-10:30 at the Stokes Family YMCA and his “Thought of the Week” can be picked up at the front desk or on his personal Facebook page.
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.