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Volunteer invited to meet Bush

A longtime volunteer for Dogs for the Deaf in Central Point will meet President George W. Bush when he arrives at the Medford airport Thursday.

Lois Rodger, 76, of Central Point was selected by White House staff members Tuesday to exemplify the president's commitment to national volunteer service.

I thought that was pretty good. I canceled my bowling, said Rodger, who passed two telephone interviews to gain the honor.

Plans call for Rodger to meet Bush at the bottom of the stairs leading from Air Force One, on the tarmac at the Medford airport.

I'm supposed to stand to the right, she said, adding that White House staffers promised her a picture with the president.

— Rodger, who has volunteered for Dogs for the Deaf since 1998, shows up every Wednesday to work in the nonprofit agency's office.

She sometimes works in the kennels helping to exercise and socialize dogs trained to help people with hearing disorders and other special needs. She also volunteers for the vestry at St. Andrews Anglican Church in Jacksonville.

A White House staff member chose Dogs for the Deaf from a list of local nonprofits on the Medford chamber Web site, said Judi Rubert, personnel coordinator for the agency.

They went onto our Web site and they liked it, so they called us, Rubert said. It's just kind of the luck of the draw; we're excited.

Rubert hoped the president's attention would spur more local residents to volunteer.

Since March 2002, Bush has met with more than 300 volunteers like Rodger, according to a White House statement. He has called on all Americans to volunteer two years or 4,000 hours of service during their lifetimes and he created the USA Freedom Corps to foster such initiative.

Rodger said she and her husband, David Rodger, 77, have volunteered in one capacity or another most of their lives. They signed up with Dogs for the Deaf after moving to the Rogue Valley from San Leandro, Calif.

But the former manager for a construction office said she never thought volunteer service would lead to a meeting with the president. Rodger said she's a registered Republican who supports Bush, but she added that no one from the White House ever asked.

That did not enter into it. They've kept it totally non-partisan as far as I'm concerned, she said.

Rodger spent much of Tuesday afternoon conducting media interviews about the high-profile meeting. She said she doesn't anticipate any pre-presidential jitters.

It's interesting, she said. But I'm not ga-ga about it.

For information about the USA Freedom Corps, visit or call 1-877-USA-CORPS.

Reach reporter JoNel Aleccia at 776-4465, or e-mail