Remembering Roger Bennett
An In Touch interview with Scott Fowler of Legacy Five.
Roger Bennett of the gospel music group Legacy Five passed away after a 12-year battle with leukemia. In Touch talked with group member Scott Fowler about the life and legacy of his best friend.
In Touch: How did your fans respond to Roger’s illness?
Scott: It really has been an incredible thing to watch … The first [bone marrow] transplant, the insurance company had said that they were not going to pay for it. It was about a $350,000 ordeal, and M.D. Anderson [Cancer] Center had told Roger that they could not proceed with the transplant without a guarantee of funds available for it.
At the time, we had about 17,000 people on our Legacy Five e-blast list, and I just got out my calculator out and did the math: $350,000 divided by 17 thousand people. I discovered that $20 a person would cover this thing. So I sent out an email to all 17,000 of our people and I told them the situation. I just asked them to consider sending in a check for $20 each. To make a long story short, there’s been about $650,000 raised, and the average gift was $70 a person.
This took place between Thanksgiving and Christmas  … People were opting not to buy gifts for one another and instead, contribute to the Roger Bennett Benefit Fund. It erased all cynicism that I had for mankind. It was really an incredible experience.
In Touch: In Roger’s blog, he really kept focused on the Lord.
Scott: That was not stage talk for him … He’d get devastating news one day, and he’d get great news the next day. And of course it would discourage him, frustrate him, and disappoint him when he’d get bad news––all those things. But honestly, there might have been one or two times in the 12 years of his illness that he ever said anything to me—privately––that sounded remotely discouraging. He really did trust that whatever God had started in his life He’d be faithful to complete. And I’ve heard Roger say, “I might not know the plan, but I know the Planner.”
In Touch: From your perspective, how did you see Romans 8:28 played out through Roger’s illness?
Scott: My dad died at 51 with cancer when I was a freshman in college, and I’m convinced that a lot of those things we’re never going to know. Perhaps we’re never going to see, with our earthly eyes, all the spiritual implications. I do believe that in the perspective of eternity it will be very clear how God orchestrated our life for the greatest impact that it can have for the cause of the Kingdom.
It’s obvious that [Roger’s] life was an incredible inspiration to people. He encouraged countless thousands of people. I’ve heard Roger say many, many times that his witness, his testimony, and his influence on people’s lives were much greater in his weakness than they were in his strength.
In Touch: What has been the most meaningful thing others have done in memory of Roger?
Scott: One of the tangible things that happened was that Debbie, Roger’s wife, made the announcement that in lieu of flowers she would like donations to be made to the Gospel Music Trust Fund, which is a trust fund available to people who are in full-time Christian music. They can go and submit a request to have some help with regard to any medical needs that they have. I got an e-mail last week from the president of the Gospel Music Fund, Ed Harper, and he said that to date, there had been about $14,000 in donations made in memory of Roger. He said that has been the most, by far, in the history of the Gospel Music Trust Fund.
On a personal note, Roger was not only a business partner for me, but he was my best friend. Phil Hoskins, a pastor up in Kingsport, Tennessee who preached Roger’s funeral, said, “Guys, obviously, we’re going to miss Roger … [But] you have to remember that we’re going to be with Roger a lot longer than we’re going to be without him.” That’s a great source of comfort for me. And I suspect it is for anyone who’s lost a relative or a friend who’s a believer.
In Touch: Going forward, what do you see for the future of Legacy Five?
Scott: You know, this may sound simple, but we are going to continue to be faithful and obedient to what we feel like God wants us to do in this season of life. If this is what God wants us to do, He’ll continue to open doors and allow us to continue to make an eternal difference in people’s lives. We’re just going to be faithful to do what we know to do, and leave the rest of it in God’s hands.