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Fmr. Berkeley deputy Will Rogers struggles for financial survival after surviving shooting

Retired Captain Will Rogers (WCIV)

Medical experts say the chance of surviving a gunshot wound to the head is about 5 percent.

Will Rogers, a retired former Berkeley County Sheriff's Office Captain, defied those odds to survive and be counted among that 5 percent.

But now, Rogers says he's struggling to survive financially, after he says his health insurance provider dropped him from their coverage.

“I found out the insurance was terminated when I went to go get his prescriptions filled and they were over a thousand dollars,” said Rogers' fiancee, Sharon Whitley. “Social security, disability, we applied and we were denied.”

Rogers officially retired from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office in September 2015, months after a brush with death while on duty.

Rogers was shot twice in the head at point-blank range in May 2015 while talking to a customer in a gas station parking lot.

A man, who was later killed in a standoff with law enforcement, came up to Rogers and shot him in the back of the head for unknown reasons.

Rogers received a worker's compensation settlement, but Whitley says the medical portion of that settlement is almost depleted,

Now, Whitley says, she and Rogers are paying for most things out-of-pocket. Medical bills cost upward of $3,000 a month.

"He’s been forgotten about, and that’s shameful. That’s shameful for everybody,” said Whitley.

Rogers' retirement following his injury marked the end of a 32-year career.

“I pretty much loved every day of life being a police officer,” Rogers said Friday.

He can walk with a cane, but has debilitating headaches and dangerous seizures.

“Every day for me is a different day. Some days are good and sometimes I feel great. Some days are terrible,” Rogers said. “Some days I have a headache that just makes me what to sit on my couch and cry.”

After all he’s been through, Rogers says it’s now his mission to bring awareness to the resource shortfall for officers and first responders injured in the line-of-duty.

Two days after four South Carolina law enforcement officers were shot, one fatally, in the line of duty, Rogers went to Washington D.C. this week to share his story before a Senate panel discussing improved financial protections for first responders injured or killed in the line of duty.

At the center of the discussion was improvements to the Public Safety Officers Benefit Program, a one-time payment from the federal government for officers killed or permanently and totally disabled in the line of duty, according to Senator Lindsey Graham.

"The amount right now is about $350,000," Graham said. "We're going to see what we can do to improve the situation working with local and state government."

Rogers is hoping to play a role in the formation of an organization, one similar to Wounded Warriors, that will help others in the same situation. The Code 3 Association, a non-profit, is also playing an integral part in the effort.

“When I first got shot in the head, I’m not going to lie, I was wondering why I was still here,” Rogers said. “I mean, I’m still trying to figure out why I was kept around, I know there’s got to be a reason.”

Berkeley County Government officials on Thursday, Jan. 25, released the following statement regarding Rogers' health insurance coverage:

“Berkeley County is deeply troubled by retired sheriff’s deputy Will Rogers’ situation and Berkeley County leaders are investigating his options. This is a top priority. We are thankful for Rogers’ years of service as a sheriff’s deputy, grateful for his miraculous recovery and will do everything possible to assist him.”


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