Cumberland County mentor to thousands dies

August 7, 2012 2:41:03 PM PDT
For more than 25 years, a Cumberland County man dished out tough love to thousands of teenagers headed for trouble.

Roger Redd, a retired war hero, helped turn around those lives until he lost his own life Monday.

Redd was a retired member of the 82nd Airborne Division who served three tours of duty in Vietnam and was wounded five times.

He passed away Monday after a massive heart attack.

Redd ran a military style boot camp for troubled youth at 4 a.m. outside the courthouse and other locations around town. The boot camp program offered young offenders an alternative. If they completed Redd's program they were free. If not, they continued to be processed through the courts and faced the possibility of jail.

Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks inherited the boot camp program when he became the senior resident judge, but remembers the impact Redd made on so many teenagers in Cumberland County.

"The thing that struck me the most was the constant refrain from young folks who said he's the only father they ever knew," Weeks said."Information that I gathered about that person led me to believe that this is somebody that may be able to not only avoid a felony conviction, but make a drastic change in their lives," Weeks said.

Howard Scott was Redd's best friend, neighbor, and fellow volunteer, and said the program did much more than just march teenagers around the parking lot like soldiers.

"We talked to the kids like they were, not adults, but young men that made a mistake. And we're trying to teach them discipline and compassion," Scott said.

With Redd now gone and Weeks's plans for retirement, the future of the program is in limbo. However, Weeks plans to make sure the current class of teenagers have a chance to complete the course.

Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | See Click Fix
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook

Load Comments