‘Roger’ and his Rabbits


Medford, Ore. — In part three of our profile on local people with unusual skills, NBC5 introduces you to Roger Hassenpflug.

Hassenpflug spent the majority of his life working to support people with developmental disabilities – 27 of them as the CEO of Living Opportunities.

But now he’s decided to end his career and retire.

“Just a little while,” he said.

Little did Roger Hassenpflug know, that just a short time after retiring, a phone call would bring him right back to the office.

“They needed some help in the interim while looking for a new executive director,” he said.

By the end of June this year, Hassenpflug was back to work. Acting as the interim director of access.

“You make decisions everyday that impact people’s lives,” he said.

But if you ask him if he’d like the role permanently. He’ll simply tell you…

“My occupation is supposed to be retired,” he said.

Retired or not, Hassenpflug’s always made an effort to immerse himself in his favorite hobby.

Rabbits.

“It’s very different than what I’ve done in my work life,” he said.

For years, Hassenpflug has not only been judging rabbit shows across the country, he’s been raising and entering his own rabbits as well.

“I actually make more decision in a single day judging rabbits, than I probably did in three months working as the executive director at living opportunities,” he said.

Hassenpflug’s interest in rabbits started when he and his wife wanted to raise the food they put on the table.

“Purchased some rabbits for that purpose initially,” he said.

But it all changed when he stumbled upon a rabbit show at a mall.

“I was really surprised that there are really that many breeds of rabbits. I was like most people I thought there were like three,” he said.

There are actually 43 recognized rabbit breeds, which struck a cord with Hassenpflug.

“The interest just grew from there,” he said.

An interest that not many in his family took seriously – like his uncle.

“He used to laugh at me for going to rabbit shows and winning little plastic trophies,” he said.

Winning those little plastic trophies was never the goal.

“Boy, it’s not something that you do for money,” he said.

For Hassenpflug, it’s always been about the experience and the people.

“People getting together, having some fun, doing something that’s different than what they do in their regular lives,” he said.

Hassenpflug will wrap up his six-month contract with access at the end of this month.

NBC5 asked him what he’d like to do with retirement, he said he can’t wait to spend more time with his rabbits and drive his wife around.

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