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The Answer

Tabitha Blog

Satisfaction through Selflessness

Giving Makes Life Better

Jan & Roger Sasse Connect Award
Jan & Roger Sasse

Because of their dedication to “building relationships rooted in love,” Jan and Roger were recently honored with Tabitha’s Donor and Volunteer Connect Award.

A Ride to Remember

At age 13, Roger Sasse remembers walking home from a water fight, dripping wet, when the local Fremont pastor graciously offered him a ride home and planted a seed.

“Have you ever thought of going into ministry?” the pastor asked.

He decided then and there he would. “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Roger said. And so began his fulfilling path of serving and supporting others.

From Campus to Camp

Roger states he’s never had a real job. After graduating from seminary and being ordained as a Lutheran pastor in 1967, he spent 20 years in campus ministry at, what was then, Kearney State College, now University of Nebraska—Kearney (UNK). He went on to do the same at Indiana University, eventually returning to his roots to lead the Lutheran college outreach at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln (UNL).

In 1988, he was handpicked to serve as the Executive Director of Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, which runs Nebraska church camps for school-age children. And more importantly, it is where he met his wife, Janice (Jan).

From leading college students, many of whom were just returning from military service, to developing youth church camps, Roger has been instrumental in many people’s “life-changing experiences.”

Legacy of Giving 

Roger has been a longtime Tabitha advocate and Volunteer since the 1950s. Giving was a trait passed down from his parents; they, too, were strong Tabitha supporters. He went on to serve on both the Tabitha, Inc., and Foundation boards. 

Roger along with his wife, Jan, have spent years giving back, and Seniors and Tabitha have been the fortunate recipients. There are so many ways to be generous; this couple covers them all. They are generous financially. They are generous in sharing their knowledge. They are generous in sharing their time. They are generous in spirit. They are generous in showing appreciation for others.

Self-described Tabitha “cheerleaders,” they gain as much as they give and consider themselves “grateful beneficiaries” of the organization through the strong sense of fulfillment they’ve reaped over the years supporting Seniors alongside dedicated Tabitha TEAMembers and Volunteers. Together, they delivered Tabitha Meals on Wheels, and Jan also donated her time to the gift shop and foot clinics.

When Roger retired in 2007, he continued to give back. Tabitha President and CEO Christie Hinrichs offered him an “office” at Tabitha. An early riser, Roger frequented the dining area for his morning coffee, which gave him an excuse to get to know the Tabitha staff and the hardworking kitchen crew.

Blessed and Blended

Jan and Roger will celebrate 30 years of marriage in December and their blended family. Jan with sons Doug, Dean, Deric and Dusty and daughter, Mindy, and Roger’s daughter, Jill. He lost his daughter, Jana, when she was just 14, and is incredibly thankful Mindy became part of his life at that same age. Today, both retired, you’ll find the Sasses spending precious time with their 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, a large family, filled with love.

The Value of Giving Back

“Giving to Tabitha is surely summed up in a five-letter word that begins with ‘M’ and ends with ‘Y.’  But the secret is that the word is not ‘money,’ but it is in fact ‘MERCY.’ Here is where the value lies; that’s the way it is in God’s world.”  
–Roger Sasse

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