St. Francis and Cheyenne County recently lost one of the best examples of a Servant Leader, Roger Jensen. As I attended his memorial service and observed all the others in attendance whose lives were touched by Roger in a positive way, it is obvious that Roger left this community a better place for all of us remaining.
Roger’s priorities in life were his faith, family and community. In my interactions with Roger, I observed his devotion to his church and community. In our many conversations, his pride in his three sons and grandchildren was quite evident. My first exposure to the term servant leader was in 2005. Roger and seven other St. Francis residents agreed to join twenty other northwest Kansas leaders to attend a traveling leadership training experience. Roger represented the St. Francis City Council on this mission. The mission of St. Francis team, Community Builders, was to restart a leadership training program in Cheyenne County.
One of our first exercises in this leadership class centered on servant leadership. The author Robert Greenleaf states “The servant leader is a servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve… Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” It was evident that Roger’s many years of service on the city council, trustee of the United Methodist Church, founding member and president of the NWK Recycling Center, founding member of the Community Builders leadership team and board member of the Cheyenne County KS Community Foundation automatically qualified him as a servant leader.
Roger’s approach to servant leadership can be exemplified by a quote by Arthur Ashe, “To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”. Roger always provided a positive can-do attitude in every group he joined. As a servant leader, Roger was instrumental in the success of many community projects. His actions included instigating, creating, organizing, evaluating, and finishing community projects. He expressed these roles by: pressing for action, enjoying a challenge, planning to get things done, asking good, hard questions, carrying out the details and finally celebrating the success on completion.
I am sure many of you observed Roger practicing these roles as a servant leader.
The question remains, who will step up and fill the position vacated by Roger, as another servant leader in our community. The family requests that memorial donations be made to the Roger Jensen Memorial Fund within the Cheyenne County KS Community Foundation. Mail donations to PO Box 967, St. Francis, KS 67756 or make donations online