Thursday, January 24, 2002

Shirt proclaiming pride of country makes impression




By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CAMP DENNISON — When Gary Rogers designed a motivational T-shirt after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he and friends spent countless hours attaching stickers bearing his Web site address to thousands of hang tags.

[photo] Gary Rogers designed this shirt after the Sept. 11 attacks.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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        Mr. Rogers, owner of a home-based apparel business called Check Your Game, hoped to hear from people who bought the shirts, but months went by without a response.

        Then, on Jan. 2 an e-mail arrived from a U.S. soldier serving in Afghanistan. The soldier's wife sent him a T-shirt for Christmas, and he wrote how much it meant to him.

        “It was one of those highs you can't explain,” said Mr. Rogers, of Camp Dennison. “It was worth all my time and work. It made me feel strongly about what I'm doing and like I am making a difference.”

        Mr. Rogers, who was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Indian Hill, played in the Canadian Football League from 1994-99. During that time, he thought about creating a line of apparel.

        “Check Your Game is just examining your game — the game of your life, what's important in your life,” Mr. Rogers said. “I want to help motivate people to check their game and improve their game. There are many games out there — sports, your job, parenting.”

[photo] Aniceto Hernandez e-mailed this photo of himself with his gift, which he received while serving with the U.S. military in Afghanistan.
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        Mr. Rogers, 31, started the business in 1998 and returned to the Cincinnati area in 1999. He produced some apparel for Berean Christian Stores, a Cincinnati-based chain with 22 stores in nine states.

        He got the idea for his “One Nation” T-shirt after the terrorist attacks.

        The front of the shirt reads “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible.” A Bible verse is printed on the back: Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

        Customers were looking for a way to be supportive to the people of New York, said Roger Feenstra, Berean president. So, Berean hooked up with Mr. Rogers.

        Berean sold 8,700 shirts and gave $1 from the sale of each shirt to the American Red Cross.

        “We were pleased with the outcome,” Mr. Feenstra said. “He's such a good guy to work with.”

        Mr. Rogers, though, was beginning to think all that work publicizing his Web site (www.checkyourgame.com) was a waste of time until the e-mail arrived from Aniceto Hernandez, a husband and father from Bakersfield, Calif. He included a photo of himself holding the shirt, which his wife had bought at Berean's in Bakersfield.

        Mr. Hernandez wrote: “I received it in Afghanistan while I was in my fighting hole. ... It really touched me to see a T-shirt of that design. I mean because of where I was at and all, especially that particular scripture from Joshua 1:9. Praise God!”

        It was one of those moments Mr. Rogers said he experienced playing football — only this time he felt he was making a difference in people's lives.

       
       



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