Friday, October 31, 2014

A hero’s heart

Staff Sgt. Greg Copes was a Liberty University online student at home and an advocate for freedom deployed as a Marine. As a student, Copes worked on schoolwork diligently between deployments, spending time with his wife and four kids. Tragedy struck when Copes lost his life during a deployment in Afghanistan when an Afghan soldier pulled his gun on two Marines, according to the Associated Press.

Many community members rallied behind the Copes family, supporting them during their loss.

At a meeting to be held in January 2013, the Exchange Club of Lynchburg plans to accept monetary donations from the club members and the outside community to present to the Copes’ family and the Wounded Warrior Foundation. In addition, the Exchange Club of Lynchburg, WSET and Gleaning For The World are joining together this Christmas season for the Heroes from the Heart of Virginia Project.

During this project, there will be multiple donation sites dedicated to gathering nonperishable items and monetary donations from the local community. Members from the Exchange Club and Gleaning For The World, as well as on-air personalities from WSET, will be on site to collect goods to benefit “Operation Homefront” located in Newport News, Va.

“One hundred percent is going to (the veterans). We’re not keeping any of it for the club,” Eugene Wingfield, the coordinator of the veteran’s events for the Exchange Club of Lynchburg, said.

All donations received go directly to the organization they are promoting at the time of the donation. Monetary donations from the Heroes from the Heart of Virginia Project will be given to the Wounded Warrior Foundation and the Copes family, while the nonperishable items, such as personal care products, will be collected by Gleaning For The World.

“Our club focuses on patriotism. We try to support our veterans as much as we can,” Wingfield said.

For three years, the Exchange Club, WSET and Gleaning For The World have partnered to take their mission of honoring patriotism directly to the heart of the community.
“I don’t want to be in a social club. I want to be in a club that works and gives back to the community,” Wingfield said.

For military families, the Christmas season often brings the reality that loved ones will not be celebrating with them. Through the Heroes from the Heart of Virginia Project, Lynchburg is reaching out to those families this holiday to give them a glimpse of the honor and recognition they deserve. Collection sites are at the Forest Kroger Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the Timberlake Kroger Saturday, Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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