In recognition for his response to a fire at a Hampden-Sydney residence hall on January 25th, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 433 commending Kirk Rohle ’12 (right) for his bravery and wishing him a speedy recovery. Rohle reentered the burning building to search for his longtime friend Ben Rogers ’12 (left); he sustained significant burns and spent nearly two months recovering in the hospital. Both students continue to recover from their injuries but have returned to campus to finish the academic year.
The Resolution, whose Patrons include Delegate Christopher K. Peace ’98, Delegate John A. Cox, Delegate Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr. ’84, and Senator William M. Stanley, Jr. ’89, was passed on March 1 and reads:
WHEREAS, Kirk Rohle of Mechanicsville showed tremendous bravery and courage when he re-entered a burning house in January 2012 to search for and rescue his best friend and fellow college football teammate, Ben Rogers; and
WHEREAS, Kirk Rohle and Ben Rogers, who are best friends and graduates of Hanover High School, both attend Hampden-Sydney College, where they play on the football team and have been Dean’s List students; and
WHEREAS, the men were part of a group of Hampden-Sydney athletes who shared a house at the edge of the bucolic rural campus; early in the morning of January 25, 2012, when the men were asleep, the house caught fire; and
WHEREAS, of the eight people who were asleep in the house that night, all but Ben Rogers quickly escaped the burning building, which had working smoke detectors; when the group realized their housemate was still inside, Kirk Rohle and others went back inside to search for him; and
WHEREAS, while Ben Rogers and the other rescuers soon emerged from the burning building with only minor injuries, Kirk Rohle exited the house a short time later through a window, and it was quickly apparent to his housemates that he had suffered serious burns in his urgent search for his best friend; and
WHEREAS, while all of the occupants of the student-athlete housing at the all-male college near Farmville survived the fire, Kirk Rohle sustained second- and third-degree burns that require several weeks of treatment; and
WHEREAS, the Hanover High School community, the Hampden-Sydney community, and the Rohle family’s many friends and neighbors have been a huge source of support to Kirk Rohle during his treatment and recovery; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That Kirk Rohle, an outstanding Virginian, hereby be commended for his extraordinary bravery in his attempt to rescue his best friend from a burning building; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to Kirk Rohle as an expression of the General Assembly’s respect and admiration for his heroism and selfless actions and best wishes for his recovery.