James William Rogers, known to many as “Will,” has always valued serving his country and community. Will served in the Marine Corps, the National Guard, the South Carolina State Patrol, The Monks Corner Police Force, and most recently in the South Carolina Sheriff’s Department where he served as a Berkeley County, South Carolina Sheriffs’ Deputy for 25 years and earned the honor of becoming a Lieutenant.
On May 14, 2015, Will’s lifetime of service was derailed. While on duty, he stopped at a gas station and was in conversation with a civilian when he was shot in the arm and knocked to the ground. Before he could process the event, a masked man approached and shot him in the head at point blank range. Fearing for her life, the civilian he had been speaking with, ran to her car and – while fleeing the scene – accidentally ran over Will as he laid on the ground. Tire tracks are forever embedded into his left arm. Although a clear motive for the attack was never established, the assailant was later identified and killed in a confrontation with law enforcement officers a week later. Will fought for his life in numerous hospitals and miraculously survived. Today, he continues physical therapy still suffers from seizures and migraines.
When recounting the time directly following his attack, Will recalls:
“I was given virtually no assistance from my department or anyone connected to law enforcement. It was strange, no one from the department came to visit me. The unfortunate reality is that small police forces are not prepared to help take care of the healthcare and financial costs associated with a law enforcement officer who is severely injured in the line of duty”.
Will has been fighting since his injury, not only to relearn daily physical activities, such as walking, but also fighting for the critical resources he needs to sustain both himself and his family. In addition to losing his medical benefits, which were previously provided through his employment, Will’s social security disability application was denied.
After learning of Will’s challenges, Code 3 stepped in to provide the critical support needed to assist with the high cost of his prescriptions and help him make ends meet. Code 3 also connected Will with his local senator. As a result, Will has applied for Public Safety Officer Benefits, appealed his social security disability decision, and appeared before a U.S. Senate committee to express the need for long term assistance for first responders injured on duty. Will continues to fight to make a better future for himself and others who may someday walk the same road of recovery.