Homeless shelter names winner of Community Service Award
A local law firm’s founding partner has received an award for his long-time service at a homeless shelter downtown.
Dégagé Ministries in Grand Rapids awarded L. Roland “Bud” Roegge, an attorney and founding partner in Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge’s Grand Rapids office, with its 2016 Marge Palmerlee Community Service Award.
The award was established by David Cobb, president and founder of Innovative Financial Group, in 2011 in honor of Marge Palmerlee, Dégagé’s current executive director.
“It was such an honor to give (Roegge) the award this year,” Palmerlee said. “He has exemplified the heart of compassion that is paramount to the mission of Degage.
“He donated many hours a week to offer pro bono legal services for our patrons. He is such a man of integrity.”
Roegge has been a member of Dégagé Ministries’ Board of Directors for the past eight years and has provided legal volunteer work for them for the past five years. He works with the ministry’s patrons on a variety of legal issues and assists them in finding attorneys who will take pro bono work.
Roegge also occasionally volunteers in assisting the kitchen staff by serving meals.
The award was created not only to acknowledge Palmer’s “caliber of service,” but also “to recognize the spirit and attitude of serving one’s community.”
Dégagé said award recipients should “demonstrate a long-standing, major commitment to impacting the daily lives and needs of the Dégagé community. This commitment should be demonstrated through the exceptional execution of programs that go well beyond the traditional service role.
“In addition, the nominee must exhibit Marge’s tireless efforts, compassion and dedication to addressing the immediate and long-term needs of the disadvantaged, while reflecting the love of Christ.”
Roegge, who has practiced law since 1963, is a trial lawyer and founding partner of Smith Haughey. He is active in the Grand Rapids community and has volunteered with Dégagé, the Justice Foundation of West Michigan and Legal Aid of West Michigan.
Started in 1967, Dégagé Ministries aims to be a place of rest and safety. What began as a coffeehouse for college students now serves as a community center that assists homeless and low-income individuals in the heart of Grand Rapids. Every day, between 400 and 500 visitors come through its doors in search of supportive services and help with immediate and long-term needs.