Officer Evan Rogers Traces His Career From Firehouse Subs to First Responder

KNOXVILLE, TN. - They say there’s always at least two sides to a good story. On a chilly morning in early February, Officer Evan Rogers of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office finally saw the other side of a story that began for him a decade ago. 

That morning, Rogers stood next to his colleagues inside the Firehouse Subs® restaurant off Town and Country Circle in Knoxville, accepting a $6,500 grant award from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation®. The money provided a total of five automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, for his department. The Knoxville Police Department also received five AEDs.

The moment was nostalgic for Rogers who, not so long ago, stood on the other side of the counter.

“When I started working at Firehouse Subs, I was a young adult, still in high school,” said Rogers who joined the Firehouse Subs family in 2006. He remembers asking guests to donate $2 for pickle buckets, the proceeds of which go directly to the Foundation. “It always felt very genuine,” he added.

He continued working the crew line at Firehouse Subs after graduating high school in 2008, with his sights set on pursuing a career as a first responder. “From a young child, I always knew I wanted to work in emergency services,” he explained. The leadership team at the restaurant were well aware, and did what they could to help make those dreams a reality. Like most Firehouse Subs restaurants, Rogers’ restaurant already had a working relationship with the local fire department, giving him a leg up when it came time to interview.

“The department saw that I had professional work experience at Firehouse Subs, where they knew a lot of the actual managers and the owners,” said Rogers. “They knew I was coming from a good background, and that really helped me as a young adult get into emergency services.”

For the next few years Rogers, split his time saving lives at the fire department and serving subs at the restaurant. The double duty also gave him a unique view of how Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation donations help local communities. “That’s when it started to sink home,” he added, “all the good that Firehouse Subs was doing through this program, you could actually see the impact.”

By the time 2012 rolled around, Rogers saw another way to serve his community, and joined the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. He says the change was, in part, to be more proactive in preventing tragedy. “As a firefighter, I was always responding to disaster, such as car crashes and people being hurt by other people,” he explained. “As a police officer, I can stop the crash before it happens.”

Flash forward to 2016 and Rogers is still pulling double duty. While he spends the majority of his time at the sheriff’s office, he remains part-time with the fire department. “I’m pretty busy now a days, but it’s well worth it.” He said he often looks back at the life lessons he learned while working for Firehouse Subs when responding to calls today. “For one, my time there taught me teamwork, and two it taught me how to be professional in the public’s eye.”

Officer Evan Rogers said accepting AEDs from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation on February 7 really brought that time in his life full circle. As he stood smiling for the local newspaper cameras, he said he couldn’t help but remember how he got there.

“Being able to, when I was younger, participate and help get donations by selling those pickle buckets, and now being able, on the other end, to receive some of that equipment is a tremendous honor.”

He still eats at his favorite Firehouse Subs restaurant, “Club on a Sub™, that’s my favorite,” he said. The difference is, when he rounds up his purchase to the nearest dollar or buys a pickle bucket for a $2 donation, he knows that donation is going to help him save lives in Knoxville, “I guarantee it.”

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was founded in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Firehouse Subs co-founders, Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, traveled to Mississippi where they fed first responders and survivors. As they traveled back to Florida, they knew they could do more and Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was born with the mission of providing funding, life-saving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations. Since inception, the non-profit organization has given more than $24 million to hometown heroes in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.

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