Tables inside a ballroom at Hilton Ocala were decorated with centerpieces featuring longtime former Ocala Star-Banner Editorial Page Editor Brad Rogers on the evening of November 21st. The pieces simulated Rogers being “roasted” and bore the words “He’s on fire.”
The Brad Rogers Roast and Toast was a fundraiser for the Marion County Children’s Alliance; Rogers is a board member.
The emcee for the event was Dr. James Henningsen, President of the College of Central Florida. The official “roasters” included Scot Quintel, United Way of Marion County; Kevin Sheilley, Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership; and Dave Schlenker, Duke Energy, formerly a longtime Ocala Star-Banner staffer.
The roast was a good-natured look at the storied career of Rogers, a longtime advocate of community issues including water, particularly the springs in the region, and the plight of children.
After the roasters finished aiming zingers at Rogers, members of the community— for an additional $20—could take the microphone and zing for themselves. Among those taking advantage of the opportunity to poke fun at Rogers were politicians Jim Payton and Stan McClain.
One of the highlights of the evening was a duet by Beth McCall, Executive Director of the Marion County Children’s Alliance, and Lauren DeIorio, Executive Director of the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County. The song was a send-up of Abba’s “Dancing Queen,” with the lyrics rewritten as “Writing King.”
At the end of the event, Rogers made an impassioned plea on behalf of the many children in Marion County who face challenges such as hunger and an unstable home life.
To learn more about the programs of the alliance, visit www.mcchildrensalliance.org.