MIDLOTHIAN – Mentors Care, now in its 11th year, has maintained most of its original board members, one of who recently received the Gene Rodgers Community Service Award at the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce’s awards banquet.

“When they called my name, I almost choked up,” said recipient Kobey Juergens, who serves on the Mentors Care board of directors. “It took me by surprise because there were so many worthy nominees. I was so honored just to be nominated among them.”

Mentors Care is a free mentorship program for high school students considered to be at risk of not graduating. Juergens also spends time volunteering for Meals on Wheels, the area Fall Festival and the chamber’s annual golf event.

“I just love this little town,” Juergens said. “To me, it’s about giving back to other people. Yeah, I could work hard and have two or three jobs but I’d rather spend my time giving back and seeing smiling faces.” 

Juergens grew up in Midlothian and said he had a strong, outstanding family unit but has been close to a lot of people who do not have quite the sheltered life he enjoyed. 

“Over the years, I’ve learned that you never know what’s happening behind closed doors,” said Juergens as to why he serves on the Mentors Care board. “I know so many people who can tell you about the one person they’ll never forget, a person who changed their life when they were going down the wrong path.” 

Dena Petty, executive director and founder of Mentors Care, had this to say about Juergen’s leadership role on the board: “I remember his reaching out to me as an employee of Gerdau wanting to know our needs and how Gerdau can serve Mentors Care. Kobey quickly responded, not only getting Gerdau to donate items for the students but by volunteering personally his time to serve as a board member of Mentors Care in 2014.

“Kobey has a heart for the community he serves,” Petty said. “He understands there are difficulties in every community and he is not one to sit on the sidelines. To use the football metaphor, he strapped on his shoulder pads and he went to work. He has been a large contributor of our growth and striving for excellence with his leadership. He has compassion for the students that are considered at-risk without judgement; he quietly goes about the business of how can we serve them better. He currently serves as our fundraising committee chair and is launching our Driving for Success Golf Tournament hosted by Mira Vista, April 6. I cannot thank Kobey enough for all he has done and continues to do for Mentors Care. Kobey Juergens is deserving of this great honor of winning the Gene Rodgers award and all of us at Mentors Care could not be prouder of him.”

A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, Juergens worked for Electronic Data Systems in Plano before joining Gerdau about 15 years ago. At Gerdau, he works as an improvement facilitator in the logistics department, where he is in charge of coordination and management of all improvement projects.

Married with two sons, Juergens said, “I’m most inspired by my wife, Stephanie. She is one of those people who has overcome amazingly difficult obstacles. It makes me proud to see someone who’s so resilient when she could have just said ‘forget it and quit.’ ”

Other nominees for the chamber’s Gene Rodgers Community Service Awards were Capt. John Spann, Midlothian Police Department; Jason Jacobus, Buckley Oil Company; and Michelle King, Texas Ace HVAC.

Mentors Care is a nonprofit serving at six area high schools in the Ferris, Maypearl, Midlothian, Palmer and Red Oak ISDs.

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in the community, visit www.mentors.care or call 501-628-4252.

Mentors Care is conducting a training for new mentors from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, at First Baptist Church, 450 E. U.S. Highway 287 Bypass, Waxahachie. Leslie A. Dean, BSW, MBA, who serves as executive director of the Ellis County Children’s Advocacy Center, will lead the training, “Understanding Trauma.” For questions, email info@mentors.care.

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