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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Man uses paper route to get back on his feet

Man uses paper route to get back on his feet

Jeff Rogers, 39, figured a paper route would help him get back strength he'd lost due to a kidney failure. At the beginning of his recovery he barely could walk up two steps. He now travels by bike on a route that takes him more than two miles a day.  (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).
Jeff Rogers, 39, figured a paper route would help him get back strength he'd lost due to a kidney failure. At the beginning of his recovery he barely could walk up two steps. He now travels by bike on a route that takes him more than two miles a day. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).

By LISA BRITTON

Of the Baker City Herald

When Jeffery Rogers first began his newspaper route, he could barely climb two steps without getting tuckered out.

That was eight months after he experienced kidney failure and had to go on dialysis.

Prior to his medical emergency, Rogers, 39, worked at Cenex, where he'd been employed for 12 years.

He was forced to take it easy due to his kidney failure.

But that wasn't in his nature, he says.

"I was working with people eight, nine hours a day, seven days a week," he says. "I missed that. I needed something to do to get me out of the house and doing something."

So he signed on to deliver newspapers for the Baker City Herald. His first route covered a section of downtown.

He gradually increased his physical endurance.

"I had a three-wheel (bicycle) in the beginning that I used some. Now I prefer the mountain bike — it has gears," he smiles.

"That three-wheeler — just one gear."

He rattles off his current routes without a pause — three and 34. For those who don't deliver papers, those two paper routes cover Eighth and Ninth drives, as well as the Mountain View RV park on Hughes Lane.

That makes for 12 miles of biking.

"And that don't count going in and out of driveways and sidewalks," he says.

Rogers admits to having a certain style when it comes to delivering the newspaper.

"If I can't see where it landed, they can't. So I get off (the bike) and move it," he says. "I deliver it the way I'd want it delivered to my house."

He can only think of a few mishaps during three years of delivering.

"I got bit once," he says. "This dog came running down the middle of the street, veered into this driveway and came at me."

The dog — he says it was deaf and blind — had been spooked by a group of kids.

"I got a little bit of a nip," he says, touching his right thigh.

"I went on and finished the route," he smiles.

The wind has played a bit of mischief on him as well.

One windy day he was delivering papers to downtown businesses.

He left most of his papers secure in his bicycle's saddlebags.

"I pulled in, parked and went in. At that time I had 12 papers — flat, loose," he says.

During his short delivery, his bike fell over and dumped the papers onto the sidewalk.

"I never found them. Well, I found two. They went darn near in South Baker," he says. "That was terrible."

Rogers can't say enough about his customers, and says he always enjoys visiting for a few minutes along the route.

"That's one of the good things," he smiles.

Along the way, he also keeps an eye on the neighborhood.

Ride a street five times a week and you're bound to notice when something changes.

"That is my neighborhood," he says. "I know when something's out of place."

Carrie Folkman, owner of Mountain View RV Park, appreciates Rogers' sharp eyes.

When three papers pile up on a doorstep, it's the newspaper's policy to pick them up.

Folkman said Rogers goes one step further — he picks up the papers, then stops by her office to check if the subscribers are really out of town, or if someone needs to check on them.

"Which is a really nice service because we have a lot of elderly people who live alone," she said.

Rogers just shrugs off the praise.

"Give me a task and I'll get it done," he says.

"There's no telling how long I'll do it — I might be an old man in a wheelchair," he laughs.

 
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