HED: Rogers named new director of Regional Rehab Center
By Marty Russell
Hamp Rogers has been named the new executive director of the Regional Rehabilitation Center in Tupelo, a nonprofit organization founded in 1955 to provide free therapy and other services for physically and mentally handicapped individuals from around the state.
Rogers replaces John A. “Red” Rasberry, who served as the agency’s director almost since its inception. Rasberry retired last year.
Rogers, 35, has served as the Regional Rehabilitation Center’s acting director since March 25.
“We feel very fortunate to have a young man the caliber of Hamp Rogers as our new executive director,” said Bob Butler, president of the center. “The leaders of the Rehab Center wanted someone with vision and energy to help lead us into the new century and beyond. We’re confident that Hamp is the man for the job.”
Rogers is a native of Tupelo and worked for 14 years as a lobbyist in Austin, Texas, before returning to his hometown to serve as fund-raising development director for the local Girl Scout council.
He said his first order of business as the new director of the Rehab Center will be to raise community awareness of the services available there.
“We plan to do a survey of key leaders in the community to determine what people in north Mississippi know about the Rehab Center,” Rogers said. “We have been here for so long that there may be a generation of folks out there who don’t know what we do.”
Rogers also takes over shortly after a feud erupted between the Rehab Center and the state Department of Rehabilitation Services over a program for the blind that was being funded by the state.
The state took over operation of the program last October, citing excessive expenditures, improper reporting, few clients and clients being required to perform personal tasks for Rasberry.
Rasberry denied the accusations, and officials speculated that the charges actually stemmed from a feud between Rehab Center board member and state legislator Steve Holland and Rehabilitation Services Director Dr. Nell Carney.
Rogers said the Rehab Center still is working with the state on the program for the blind by providing dormitory space for the clients.
“That seems to be working well,” he said.
The Regional Rehabilitation Center is funded by donations from the United Way, Lee County, Tupelo, private donations and an annual telethon.