This year’s Heart Walk will be held April 15.
“It is usually always the last Saturday in February, but because of the weather, we postponed it,” she said.
The Heart Walk was started 25 years ago. The hospital hired Rogers-Erickson after she volunteered to decorate for their partnership events. She then spearheaded events to raise awareness regarding what the hospital does.
“February was National Heart Month,” Rogers-Erickson said. “I was hoping to get 25 or 30 people and we had over 50. From there it just grew into a large intergenerational program.”
Over the years, the event, currently planned by Debbie Hess, has raised about $4,000 to $18,000.
Rogers-Erickson retired from her post as marketing director in her 70s.
“It was an absolute joy to be able to connect different groups of people, so that philanthropically they could accomplish more,” she said.
Such events require the help of community and businesses.
“Young people and their enthusiasm and energy is what creates an exciting, fun event,” Rogers-Erickson said.
Rogers-Erickson is no stranger to serving the community and its youth. She served on the board of the Bakersfield Auxiliary Probation for about 12 years.
“We saw the needs of Camp Owen, as well as Pathways, in Bakersfield and some of the other probation departments dealing particularly with youth and young adults,” Rogers-Erickson said.
She started a program in the Kern River Valley called Friday Night Friends.
“I would invite two or three community leaders to go to Camp Owen,” Rogers-Erickson said. “We would interact and spend the evening with the young men who didn’t get visits from home.”
The visits prevented discord and frustration among the inmates.
Campers had a wood shop and made furniture to be sold at the Peddlers Fair, which Rogers-Erickson started.
Rogers-Erickson taught a women’s Bible study and Sunday school at her church.
She also raised her children in the Kern River Valley and credits her husband, Charlie, for his partnership in her endeavors. Rogers-Erickson is now a great-grandmother.
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