#8216;The house that love built#039;Glenwood family receives outpouring of help after house fire
Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 20, 2007
“God still works miracles, and there still are good people in the world.”
Angela Coplen has definitely learned the truth of those words as she watched people and businesses from all over help her family get back on their feet after they lost everything in a house fire last Oct. 3.
“I was out running errands that day, and my husband Daniel was at home asleep because he works at night,” Coplen said.
At 11:51 that morning, Coplen received a call that her home was on fire. Her husband had awakened and had made it out of the house, but what wasn't destroyed by fire was destroyed by smoke and water.
“Nothing was salvageable,” she said.
The family, which includes seven children, ages nine to 18, even lost their pet Dachshund, named Killer.
“He only weighed five poundsŠhe was just too little to get out,” she said. “That is what really got to us.”
The family's cat, Curious George, made it out a window, but he suffered terrible burns.
“The fire had burned all of his whiskers off and the tips of his ears offŠit even burned the pads completely off his feet,” Coplen added. “He's a unique looking fellow now, though,Šhe's spoiled rotten from all the attention he's gotten.”
Five of the Coplen's children attend Brantley School, one is home-schooled, and one attends LBW Community Center.
Coplen said that the family at first moved in with her sister, Elaina Davis of Goshen.
“There were 13 of us in one house,” Coplen said. “We had two mattresses in the living roomŠ.we took out the dining room table and put mattresses in thereŠwe had kids stacked everywhere.”
Davis opened an account for her sister's family at the First Citizens Bank in Luverne, and she also ran an announcement on the cable Channel 10 Bulletin Board. Coplen said that donations began pouring in.
“I don't even know these people,” she continued. “This is truly how God works.”
After staying with her sister for 86 days, the family received a call about a double-wide mobile home that had been set up for storage use in Brantley. It had no sinks, no toilets or cabinets-just floors and walls.
“We got it for $2,000,” Coplen said. “I wrote the check on faith. That same night, I got a call from Airtek out of Troy about a donation they had made. It was for $5,000! I just cried and cried.”
Coplen said there was no way she could list everyone who had given to their family, but she wanted everyone to know how thankful she was and how appreciative the family was for every bit of help and kindness shown to them since that Oct. morning.
Among those who donated money, materials or their time include the Petrey Church of Christ, Danny Rolling, Fleetwood Baptist Church, Dr. Alethea Gammage, Janet and Tom Johnson, Campground Methodist Church, Brantley School, the Crenshaw County Department of Human Resources, Sister Schubert's, Sister Barnes, Bobbie Copeland, a man named Donald from Tampa, Fla., who brought a 40-foot trailer full of furniture who had heard about the family through Bobbie Copeland, the Eagles and the V.F.W. out of Florida, Bob and Sheila Miltner, Robin McComb, Coplen's parents Thomas and Judy Green, and her sister Elaina Davis.
For Christmas, the Stamping Department of the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, which is comprised of 83 members, gave the children Christmas presents, plus a complete tour of the plant just for the family.
“That was really awesome,” she added.
“People would just stop by and leave bags of clothes on my sister's front steps, or they would leave food and we wouldn't even know who left it,” Coplen said. “Everybody has been so good to us, and I know that I'm leaving out so many people to thank.”
Even though the family is now in their new home, construction is still not completed.
Four of the bedrooms are 70 percent complete, while only one bathroom is finished. There is still plumbing, electrical and flooring work that is needed, plus one-and-a-half baths have not been completed at all.
“We start baths about 5 p.m. and go in shifts,” Coplen said, laughing. “That's the only way we can get everyone bathed for school.”
“My husband kept telling me that God was going to take care of us, and we are living proof of that,” Coplen said. “This entire experience has renewed my faith in God and in people.”
Daniel and Angela Coplen's account is still open at the First Citizens Bank in Luverne. Anyone who would like to contribute to the family's expenses may still do so. For more information, please call 334-429-0097.