Darol Rodrock: Dedicated to Helping Foster Children Lead Great Lives
By Gabrielle Sasse, Pleasurehorse.com
There are many horse people who have heard of the great stallions Certain Potential, Only In The Moonlight, Huntin For Chocolate and A Scenic Impulse, all of which had made a name with Karen and Darol Rodrock at Rodrock Ranch. Although these stallions are now standing in Texas, Rodrock Ranch has made quite a name for itself. This beautiful facility in Kansas has been producing show prospects and show horses for 30 years. The Rodrocks not only breed, raise and show quarter horses, but also serve the industry in many other ways. Darol was a past president of NSBA, recipient of the prestigious Jack Benson award, served as a Kansas Quarter Horse Association Director and was a National AQHA Director for several years. He also served as a member of the AQHA Foundation Committee.
But that’s not all Darol has been doing. This Kansas resident has been a high school history teacher, wrestling coach and is now Johnson County’s new-home community developer. But his biggest achievement has come more recently. Darol promised himself long ago that he would help children in foster homes and orphanages, and the Darol Rodrock Foundation is doing just that.
Darol has chosen to champion this cause because he too, was once bouncing around foster homes. He finally found a stable family at the age of 14, when his teacher Lavone Robinson, and her husband Ray, took him in. “They provided unwavering guidance and a college education,” said Darol, a Kansas University grad who also went on to earn his Masters in Education. Darol served as a high school teacher for 11 years, where he also coached wrestling. He began to paint houses on the side to support his income, which lead him to residential construction and a new career. He embarked on the journey of residential development 35 years ago, and has since built approximately 80 new-home communities.
But Darol hasn’t just been out to build a career. “I’ve always sought to build homes, not just houses,” he explains. “Our company doesn’t even use the word ‘subdivisions.’ Our goal is to create communities that, from the start, feel like neighborhoods where families can thrive, where neighbors connect, feel welcome and have the ability to live life to the fullest.” Darol strives to give children a place where they and their families can feel welcome and build a community instead of just a series of houses.
Now, as Darol approaches his 70th birthday, he is setting out to build a Foundation that will “last forever.” His biggest goal is to help “build a bridge to connect children to the support they need to help them realize the good in themselves, help them overcome the loneliness and uncertainty they may feel, to enrich their lives and find a way to help them fulfill the destiny that God has planned for them.”
Darol, along with his established board of directors, has been working hand in hand with area child advocacy experts to identify the best ways to most effectively help these children. The first order of business is to ensure that all of the foundation funds, whether his endowment or donations from caring individuals (all of which are tax deductible) can directly benefit the children the foundation serves. His first major event is to host an Auction, the proceeds of which will go to his foundation and foster children.
“I really understand the emotions of children in foster care, because I have lived it,” shares Darol.
The auction is slated to begin at 6:30 pm on January 17, 2014, at the Overland Park Convention Center. Darol has organized it to raise public awareness regarding the issue, and raise money for this cause. “Darol is a casual, jeans and boots kind of guy, so this will be too,” shared Brenda Sanders, the Vice President of Strategic Development. “For Darol, and I say this sincerely, it’s never been about just buying and selling land, but creating the kind of supportive community environment he didn’t have growing up, and leaving a positive lasting legacy.” The public is invited to attend, and can purchase tickets online at DarolRodrockFoundation.org.
The mission of The Darol Rodrock Foundation is: To help children in foster care realize the good in them and help them overcome the loneliness and uncertainty they may feel. To enrich their life and find a way to help them fulfill the destiny that God has planned for them. “I understand this better than anyone, because I lived this life until I found a loving family to guide and believe in me.”
There will be food at the event, as well as entertainment by Blue Sky Riders, a band featuring Kenny Loggins, Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr. The auction will be hosted by charity auctioneers “The Nigro Brothers.” George and David Nigro, Ron Stricker and Toby Tyler make up this team that is “one of the hottest a charity can obtain for their money raising auctions, because the Nigro Brothers get big money, but refuse to take any of it home,” states this Kansas news story. Items include tickets to the April 2014 Master Golf Tournament, a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and Palm Desert, California, and deep-sea fishing expedition with Darol in Marco Island, Florida.
“There is no way I can ever repay the Robinsons and others along the way for their many kindnesses. I will just do whatever I can to help any ‘young Darols’ in our area embrace and achieve life-affirming possibilities,” shares Darol.
If you would like to know more about the event, including purchasing tickets or donating, you can visit the Darol Rodrock Foundation’s website, or contact Brenda Sanders at BSanders@Rodrock.com or 913-238-6370. We will be telling more of their story in our January issue of Show Horse Today.