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Pancakes For Roger! – The Backstory

February 1st kicks off Combs & Company’s annual campaign to support the University of Missouri School of Law Veterans Clinic, which helps veterans and their families navigate the VA claims process and secure disability benefits when they are faced with obstacles along the way.  Combs & Company will make a donation to the Veterans Clinic for every pancake-loving picture you post on social media and use the hashtag #PancakesForRoger.

Many have asked how this campaign began.  It began with a what seemed to be a simple request by my father for some pancakes.  

My dad, Major General Roger E. Combs, served our great country for more than 39 years in three branches of the military (Marines, Army, and Air Force).  When he was coming to the end of his life, I was fortunate enough to return home to King City, MO from my NYC home to be present and help care for him.  Each morning we had a pretty specific routine as the early risers of the family.  I would go to the gym at 5am, return home around 6am to get ready for the day, and then help him have breakfast and get him prepped for his day.  One morning, as I came downstairs, he was setting the kitchen table for himself and I looked at him rather quizzically and asked what he was doing.  He looked at me and said, “I want pancakes for breakfast.”  I smiled at him as my heart broke inside.

Such a simple request was by this time impossible for my dad.  Ten years prior, my father was diagnosed with Agent Orange-related throat cancer, from exposure during his service as a combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam.  He’d beaten that cancer and enjoyed a relatively good ten years, but he relapsed twice, and his final treatments required him to have a feeding tube.  He was unable to eat solid foods – and my dad loved food – but he never complained.  He knew the journey he was on.  So his desire for pancakes became a rallying point for me and #PancakesForRoger became my way to honor his greatness.  I share this story as often as I can to help remind myself and others to enjoy the simple things in life, because you never know when they could be taken away. 

So every February, to show support to many veterans who will come to be in my father’s shoes, I issue a challenge for the month to have some “Pancakes for Roger.”  For each picture you post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter, and use the hashtag #PancakesForRoger, Combs & Company will make a donation in Maj. Gen. Combs’ name to the Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law to help further their mission to support our veterans and their families.

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If you are looking to support the Mizzou Law Veterans Clinic in a deeper way, feel free to CLICK HERE to make a donation!



To the Mizzou Grads of 2020!

Combs 2020

Thinking of all the Mizzou grads this weekend in the class of 2020!

I graduated in 2001 from the Ag School with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management. I’ve always described my degree as a business degree with cooking classes and where all the fun people were. I started out at Mizzou with a full ride in Air Force ROTC for a Chemical Engineering degree and had 4 additional declared Majors (Mechanical Engineering, Atmospheric Science, Elementary Education and double Major in Communications & German) until I found my home with the HRM people….hey, it’s not my fault I have so many different interests.

I even remember when I decided to look into HRM, my father was in town for a military ball that was at the main conference center at the time (Holiday Inn Select) and he said “Suz, I was talking to some kids at the Front Desk and they told me their Major was Hospitality, I think you’d really enjoy that and could see you being a meeting planner.” So I went at checked out the program, talked to Professor Michael Keene and Dr. Jim Groves, switched to the program, started showing up on the Dean’s List and served as a TA for Hospitality Accounting and Professional Bar & Beverage Management. I also went back and worked at that same hotel at the Front Desk and in Corporate Sales before landing at the Hearnes Center to work in Events where I got to help plan concerts and sporting events.

I still hold dear the friendships I made my Freshman year and beyond. The past 4 years I was lucky enough to be asked to “come back home” and serve on the University of Missouri Alumni Board, work with the Mizzou Law Veterans Clinic and excited to announce that I will be a part of The Jefferson Club Board of Trustees this coming Fall. Every time I think of my professional journey, Mizzou has been in the background as my foundation for my career, my business and my connections. So to the Mizzou grads that have a case of the Ho Hums since they won’t get to cross the stage this weekend, know that you are honored by this Alum and so many others. When I look back, I don’t remember the ceremony, I remember the people that helped make me Mizzou Made.

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