Story by Lois Rogers | Correspondent
After a successful first book on courage in the face of fear and grieving, Spring Lake first responder Andrea Jo Rodgers is back with “On Heaven’s Doorstep: God’s Help in Times of Crisis,” which features 30 true stories.
“On Heaven’s Doorstep,” just out from the Christian publishing company, Harvest House, is the sequel to Rodgers’ popular first book, “At Heaven’s Edge,” which has been captivating readers around the country since 2015 – and no wonder. Rodgers, an active member of Spring Lake’s St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish, has a way with words and a gift for recognizing stories that move the heart and inspire the reader.
In her 30 plus years as a volunteer EMT, she’s responded to more than 7,500 emergency first-aid and fire calls – and she’s managed to do so while earning a string of degrees in the medical field, including a clinical doctorate in physical therapy, working full time in that field and raising 12-year-old twins, Lily and Thomas, with her husband.
In sharing what inspired her to do another book on the same subject, Rodgers said, “There were so many stories I wanted to include in the first book and there wasn’t enough room.”
Rodgers began keeping a journal on the emergency calls at the suggestion of her mother. Both books reflect calls she went on in the early years of her service with the squad, and she hopes readers will be “comforted by the stories, maybe recognize a familiar situation in them or realize that they are not alone in what they are going through.”
“Some of the stories reflect what I consider to be miracles. Some are sad but faith-filled, and others are humorous,” she said, adding that among the latter is the story of an accident the team witnessed and responded to, mistaking the melting ice cream on the dashboard and windshield for blood.
The faith-filled stories she presents include glimpses into the most bittersweet moments in life when families, friends and emergency volunteers must rely upon their trust in God as they help ease patients into eternal life. Rodgers said she feels blessed to be able to share these stories, which have deepened her own faith. She hopes they will do the same for those who read the books.
As in the first book, the 30 stories in “On Heaven’s Doorstep” are true, but she has changed the names of the people and places for privacy. The only two names she didn’t change were her own and that of her husband, Rick, who she said, has been very supportive of her blossoming literary career as a proofreader, and the creator of her website, business cards and bookmarks.
She also changed the name of the town from Spring Lake to Pine Cove. That was this reviewer’s only regret while reading the books that so positively reflect the character and atmosphere of the town you’d like people to know is a real area on the Jersey Shore.
Rodgers will be on hand for presentations and book signings in the following locations: 10 a.m.-noon, June 9, Sea Girt Library; 2 p.m. June 22, Wall Library, 7 p.m. July 12, Manasquan Library.
For more information on Rodgers, visit http://andreajorodgers.com/.