GREENVILLE — A Greenville man wanted to help out his grandson this past summer, so he decided to start up a food stand at the fair to help raise money for the boy’s 4-H club. Next summer, he will continue to honor his grandson by using the same food stand as a fundraiser for a family with a child being treated at Children’s Hospital.
Seven years ago, the grandson of Dan Coppess went through open heart surgery at the tender age of 7. He has to return for a check-up each year and still has a small valve problem, Coppess said, but the boy, now 14 years old, is thriving. Coppess said he is 6-foot-3 and weighs 240 pounds and is still growing.
In order to help his grandson this past summer, Coppess started up a food stand at the fair offering the lowest priced food on the fairgrounds. Thanks to sponsor support, he was able to stock the food stand, and word of mouth spread so quickly about the low-priced food that he was able to raise about $2,000 for the club.
Next summer, Coppess will continue to honor his grandson with his new Joy to the World Ministry, which will operate the food stand to raise money to assist a family with a child at Children’s Hospital.
Coppess has a long history with the Great Darke County Fair. He was born Dec. 31, 1944, so he missed the fair that year, but he said that he and his parents went every year after that, every day of the fair.
His first job was when he was 10 years old, carrying buckets of water for the horses, at a rate of 10 cents per bucket. After that, he went on to work in the game booths. He eventually got to run a game booth himself.
He later began to work for Harry Duncan at Duncan’s Lunch Stand. “That was where I learned to be a fry cook and do food service,” he said.
When Coppess got older he developed some health problems. He has diabetes. He’s had three heart attacks. He had a stroke. He fell and broke his back in three places. He’s had prostate cancer.
“I feel like a cat with nine lives,” Coppess said. “God has me around for a reason.”
So he started Joy to the World Ministry to spread God’s word and share the blessings he’s received.
“I’ve witnessed to people and they’ve accepted Christ,” Coppess said. “I’ve shared my story.”
For the past seven years, in honor of his grandson, Coppess has been collecting soda tabs for Ronald McDonald House, which provides housing free of charge for the parents of children receiving treatment in the hospital. The charity allows families to stay close to their children without being burdened with the cost of hotels or other accomodations.
Coppess said that in seven years, he’s collected and donated about 4 million tabs.
In order to supply his food stand for the fair this year, he is seeking donations of scrap copper, which he will recycle for funds to buy food and supplies and pay for the booth space. Copper can be found in wiring, such as extension cords and power cords; copper pipe; old copper fittings; motors from electrical appliances and old power tools; vacuum cleaners and carpet shampooers; old Christmas tree lights and more.
To donate scrap to the cause, contact Coppess at 937-548-5409 to make arrangements to drop off the items or have them picked up. For larger items, he said he will even come out and strip out the copper himself.
As an added bonus, he is offering to pass on the blessing with tips to save money on food and fuel. “I’ve checked with the IRS, and it’s perfectly legal. It’s not a scam. I’ve been blessed, and they will be blessed, too.”
Coppess said he wanted to thank all those who supported the food booth at the fair last year, and he expects it will be twice as busy this year, as word-of-mouth continues to spread. The booth will be located in the same place next summer – by the rabbit barn – operating under Joy to the World Ministry.
Reach the writer at 937-569-4354 or on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA. Join the conversation at facebook.com/advocate360 or visit our website at www.dailyadvocate.com.