Jerry Roettgers is a man who keeps his promises.
In 1952, his daughter Donna – then a toddler – fell down some stairs and fractured her skull. He and his late wife, Virginia, rushed her to Cincinnati Children’s.
Jerry recalls, “I asked the Lord to save my daughter and promised to give whatever I could afford for the rest of my life. It was $10 then and that was one-sixth of my pay! The doctors and nurses took such good care of her.”
He has kept that promise. Now 90 years old, Jerry has made annual gifts to Cincinnati Children’s for more than 60 years. He is a member of the Pillar Society and one of our most valued longtime supporters.
His daughter Donna recovered quickly, and Jerry and Virginia’s family grew to include seven children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Over the years, several family members have had visits to Cincinnati Children’s, including two granddaughters who had brain surgery. Cara suffered a brain hemorrhage at age 5 from a fall, and Amanda had a mass on her brain at age 16. Both had successful surgery and made a full recovery.
In 2011, Jerry’s great-grandson Jack was born at Cincinnati Children’s with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a rare but serious condition in which the diaphragm does not develop properly and the abdominal organs float into the chest cavity. Jack was cared for by the comprehensive CDH care team at Cincinnati Children’s and had multiple surgeries. Today, he is doing well.
Jerry and Virginia began a family legacy of giving back that spans four generations. Many of their children and grandchildren also support the medical center, and that spirit of giving includes time and talent as well as treasure. Molly, one of Jerry’s granddaughters, is a nurse at Cincinnati Children’s who cares for children with leukemia and other blood diseases.
Jerry says he is proud of his large family, and he is grateful for their continued health and for the medical center.
“Cincinnati Children’s has always been good to us, so we do the best we can for them,” he says. “I’ll keep giving every month for as long as I can.”
> See Jerry and other longtime supporters on the Pillar Society Honor Roll.