Memory of Cottage Grove teen lives on

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Posted: Friday, August 17, 2013 -- 10:20pm

It was July 2002. Cottage Grove resident Dane Rogers was 17 at the time and was playing golf with a few friends. But, a day on the golf course quickly turned from fun to tragic.

Rogers and his buddies jumped into a pond at Vitense Golfland. Rogers had swallowed some of the pond water. Two days later, he went into shock and died. The cause was something no one in the nation had ever died from before: toxic algae.

Alex Kugle was there that day. He also swam in the pond, but only got a little sick. It was the same case for the 3 other friends who were also there.

"They found out later that our blood had blue-green algae in it too. It just didn't affect us the same way” says Kugle.

Rogers was an athlete with no pre-existing health conditions. His death was a shock, to say the least. His friends and family decided they wanted some good to come out of it. They set up the Dane Rogers Scholarship Fund. It awards scholarships to two soccer players at Monona Grove High School. Soccer was a sport Rogers played.

"A lot of people looked up to him” Kugle tells NBC 15.

A few years ago, Kugle and a few friends took over the fund after it started to dip. Every year since, they've held a golf outing to raise money for it.

"We really want people to remember who he was and how nice of a guy he was and just so well liked. We'd like to keep doing the golf outing for years to come” Kugle says.

While Kugle and Rogers' other friends and family will never forget what happened on the golf course back in 2002, Rogers memory lives on, benefiting the community

"We just want to make sure he's not forgotten about” Kugle says.

The annual golf outing for the Dane Rogers Scholarship Fund will be held Saturday, August 17, 2013 at the Oaks Golf Course. It starts at 8am.

Here is more information to make a donation:
Dane Rogers Scholarship Fund, c/o Monona State Bank, P.O.Box 6500, Monona, WI, 53716.