Leaving Temple behind, Jones brothers blend in with Roehrig family


provided by Roehrig family

Moving from Temple to Frisco, Dimitri and Jordan were welcomed with open arms by the Roehrig family as aunt Mindy, cousins Madalyn and Matthew, along with uncle Mike embraced the brothers and involved them in everything including family vacations.

Just 150 miles south of Frisco, between Waco and Austin, sits the city of Temple. Approximately less than half the size of Frisco, it might as well be a thousand miles away for seniors Dimitri and Jordan Jones.

With their parents living in Temple, the Jones brothers have made a long and difficult journey up I-35 to find success in Frisco on both the football field and track. With a 1 in 25 chance of falling victim to a violent or property crime, Temple is not seen as the most promising city.

“Moving here kind of just gave us a better education,” Jordan said. “So just coming up to this area, especially at Liberty where academics is one of the main focuses in the school, it allows us to grow in our strength for knowledge for learning. In Temple, half our friends we had in elementary are now in jail or on the streets selling drugs, dropouts. Living there now, that could be us with all of our friends.”

Provided by Madalyn Roehrig
With their uncle Mike, aunt Mindy, and cousin Madalyn, Dimitri and Jordan celebrate senior night after a win against Frisco.

Seeking an escape from an uncertain environment, Jordan and Dimitri found a safe haven in the home of their aunt and uncle, Mindy and Mike Roehrig.

“It was never our heart to take them away,” Mindy Roehrig said. “We didn’t take them away. There was a need and there was no doubt whether it was a week or the rest of their life that they were welcome here. It’s just as long as that need was there, our home was open and they were a part of the family.”

Before permanently settling in with the Roehrig family, Dimitri and Jordan bounced back and forth between Temple and Frisco.

“Grew up together, parents split when we were younger, elementary,” Jordan said. “We stayed with our mom most of the time and we lived with our grandparents too as well. So a little bit of moving back and forth. Now, we live with our aunt and uncle, been in the same place since sixth grade. Went to Scoggins, Vandeventer and now here.”

In hopes of providing the boys with more opportunity, the Roehrigs’ welcomed Dimitri and Jordan into their home over six years ago.

“In sixth grade they came it was for a year and absolutely it was a great fit,” Mindy Roehrig said. They actually came to live with us when they were in third grade. They were here for a year and then they went back to Temple for a little while and then they came back in sixth grade. They came back and their friends were so excited. They just walked right back into a great environment and they had just really adapted so well and there was so much potential here for them and it was just a good fit.”

It’s also been a more stable situation for the two brothers.

provided by Madalyn Roehrig
During a vacation to Mexico in the summer of 2017, aunt Mindy, cousin Matthew, cousin Madalyn, uncle Mike, Jordan, and Dimitri gather for a family picture.

“Living here has more benefits like we build relationships longer because we know we don’t have to leave and you get more of a family environment here,” Dimitri said. “When we were there both our parents are split so we’ll go see one and just sometime you have to choose to go with which one on certain days. Here, you don’t have to.”

However, the new home brought different standards and a definition of morality.

“My mom and dad were chillaxed about the stuff we did,” Jordan said. “When I was in elementary, I would get in trouble for fighting everyday. I didn’t really get in a lot of trouble for that so I never learned that fighting was wrong. I just kept doing it. But moving down here, you learn right from wrong really fast so it’s helpful. It wasn’t to be mean or authority it was just to help us out.”

The move north didn’t come easy as despite new opportunities, living away from their parents and eight siblings took a toll.

“I think the relationship’s [with our parents] is not as strong,” Dimitri said. “We only get to see them once or twice a year so I think the connections not as strong as it used to be but I feel like we’re still connected. It was kind of hard because we had to leave our little siblings.”

A new home brings new “siblings”

While the move to Frisco required them leaving behind their siblings, the two brothers quickly took on an older sibling role to their cousin, sophomore Madalyn Roehrig.

“I feel like overall the most positive outcome was just getting them out,” Madalyn Roehrig said. “I hate seeing their environment. Dimitri and Jordan are like extra brothers. You know the stories about how they watch out for you and stuff so they were the people that would watch out for me and that was nice.”

provided by Madalyn Roehrig
Jordan Jones, Matthew Roehrig, Madalyn Roehrig, and Dimitri Jones get together for a picture for homecoming 2015.

That’s not all Dimitri and Jordan have provided, as perhaps unknowingly, the boys have revealed another world to Madalyn.

“Frisco is a big bubble for sure. So they exposed me to things outside of Frisco which I think helps with personal interrelationship skills,” Madalyn Roehrig said. “So when I grow up and live outside of this community I’ll know how to react and what reality is like. Definitely gives me a lot more empathy for people and the environment. Temple is so close to us yet it’s such a different atmosphere so I think that’s also a big thing. There’s a lot of issues right now in America, hearing their perspectives about a lot of them definitely shine a light on mine.”

The addition of the Jones brothers helped the Roehrig’s oldest child in unexpected ways as Matthew took on a larger role, looking out for Dimitri, Jordan, and Madalyn.

“I think it impacted me in different ways,” Matthew Roehrig said. “I think it made me mature faster having to at some points grow up and take more responsibilities with them there. It made me rethink my life and how I was living. It made me grateful for the blessing that I’ve gotten just from their perspective.”

But much like the road from Temple to Frisco is filled with road construction, the blending of the Jones brothers into the Roehrig family had some bumps and detours.

“It’s been a blessing in many many different ways, but it certainly has been challenging at times. There’s a lot of dynamics that we’ve had to grow through and figure out,” Mike Roehrig said. “With Matthew and Madalyn, our two kids, they had to grow through figuring out how to share the house, share space, share stuff, and share parents. We had to figure out how to take two kids that lived in a different environment and different habits, values, and structure, and incorporate that into our structure. We’ve all grown I think a ton. It’d almost be hard to describe from my perspective how much we’ve all grown.”

Overcoming obstacles

Once settled in at the Roehrig household, Dimitri and Jordan’s academic and athletic careers took off.

“I think as an athlete they are probably 110 percent in,” Mindy said. “The way they’re made it’s something in them that they just excel at. I mean there hasn’t been one thing they haven’t touched in a sporting event that they just haven’t taken off. They pretty much put that same work into their school. But I think school is a little harder. They just don’t walk in the classroom and it’s an A, they definitely have to use that work ethic that they use on the field into the classrooms so that they can make the grades and be successful.”

Finishing his high school career with more than 2,000 yards rushing, Dimitri’s success on the field built upon a foundation laid in Temple.

“When we were younger we used to play football without pads on,” Dimitri said. “We’d get a group of guys and you’d all just play tackle football. So we just wanted to try it.”

Dimitri Jones, Madalyn Roehrig, and Jordan Jones take a picture for senior night at Toyota Stadium.

Lining up on the football field together; Dimitri in the backfield, and Jordan out wide, the Jones brothers and their situation are an example for others according to head football coach Chris Burtch.

“There is so many times in our society now that people will have those obstacles come up and they use them as excuses instead of using them as opportunities,” Burtch said. “That’s probably the thing I realize from those two guys and most is that they ended up in a really good spot. The family that they live with is awesome and for me personally that’s exactly what we should be doing as a society. We should be looking out for one another and stepping in when we have to step in. It’s pretty cool to watch that whole thing play out over the years.”

With the Jones brothers transitioning from the football field to the track where each has found success, it’s a sign graduation is getting that much closer, but as they get ready to move on to college, Dimitri and Jordan know they will always be welcome in their adopted home.

“I feel like with our parents maybe a little stronger, communicate, talk a little bit more but I feel like Mike and Mindy will be the same we’ll still talk, visit,” Dimitri said. “We’ll just be off to college, nothing will change.”

“Most likely odds are we’ll probably visit our aunt and uncle more than we do our parents because that’s just how it is,” Jordan said. “This will be the meaning of home.”