Kevin Roe (Julia Bergman Photo)
The first student to receive a bachelor’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, Kevin Roe, 60, is diligent in showing his support for a community that has given so much to him. Following the track, which he says many Roswell residents take after leaving, Roe has returned to the city, after spending many years in Nevada, because,“it is home.”
Roe’s upbringing did not mimic that of an ordinary childhood. He began working at age 10 and lived on his own starting at age 14, an experience that led him to become very self-reliant. “No one influenced me,” he said.
After working for many years, Roe decided it was time that he receive an education. He first completed a GED, then attended ENMU-R, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in university studies and 4.0 GPA. He took enough credits to complete his degree in Roswell without having to take any classes in Portales.
Roe then enrolled in law school at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. He was accepted into Harvard, but was unable to attend for financial reasons.
After graduating from law school, Roe moved to Las Vegas, Nev., to take the bar exam. He worked as a lawyer for 26 years, first at a private firm, then opened his own firm and had seven attorneys working for him.
Adopted as an adult by David and Sheila Roe of Pepper’s Restaurant, Roe is now married and the father of three.
He has taught his kids to be honest, hard working and self-reliant. “They needed to be able to live in this world and make themselves sufficient.”
He has moved back to Roswell to retire, because, “it’s the best place in the world.” He finds the community to be strong and close knit, and the city to be self-sufficient, for the most part.
Holding a particular likeness for the people in the community, Roe says, “It’s the people, you don’t meet strangers here, you meet friends, and they last you a lifetime.”
Believing in the importance for citizens to support their communities, Roe has been involved with many clubs in Roswell in order to pay back the community. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church, a substitute teacher for behavioral special education classes at the high school level, and president of the Optimist Club, a civic organization dedicated to helping youth in Roswell in various ways.
A friend of Roe’s since 1974, Jack Swickard, a former editor of the Daily Record, describes him as a, “forthright, honest, ethical person, and someone who doesn’t take shortcuts.”
The two rekindled their friendship after both returned to Roswell. They now live a few blocks away from each other.
Swickard says Roe is the same as he ever was and admits he was impressed when he learned Roe became a lawyer. The two often enjoy talking about politics, Swickard even worked on Roe’s campaign during his run for municipal judge and the City Council. Swickard has enjoyed the chance to pick up his friendship with Roe saying, “He’s an old friend, an old friend is like an old shoe that fits well. You get along really well with some people and Kevin is one of those people.”