About Ron and Carol Cope
Ron and Carol Cope were natives of southeast Nebraska and moved to Kearney in 1940. The couple, raised during the depression, had met at college and married in June 1934. Kearney would remain their home until September 13, 2012, when Carol passed away on her 103rd birthday. The Copes built a chain of Claussens Shoes stores in Kearney, Lexington, North Platte and Holdrege and spent the next 30 years selling shoes together. They lived modestly, investing their earnings in local farmland and Berkshire Hathaway stock, and enjoyed attending St. James Catholic Church and spending time with their dogs. Ron served our state legislature for eight years before passing away on January 12, 1992. Ron and Carol weren’t blessed with children, but their marriage of 53 years was a tribute to the love they shared for each other and for Kearney, Nebraska.
Walk in the Copes’ Shoes
In honor of Carol’s Birthday on September 13, her friends and neighbors want to give Kearney a chance to live like the Copes. To walk in their shoes. Share in Ron and Carol’s joy of giving by doing something small that makes a big difference in someone else’s life. It could be a random act of kindness or planned event. It could take five minutes or a couple of hours. It could be a one-time occurrence or a life-long change for the betterment of Kearney.
What do I do?
It’s easy. On Friday, September 13 and Saturday, September 14, take a walk in the Copes’ shoes! Do something nice, anything really, that continues the Copes’ legacy of giving. A random act of kindness, like paying it forward at the take-out window or dropping off a plate of cookies to a neighbor. If you need a little help, choose an act of kindness suggested by our area agency partners. (See “Act of Kindness Ideas” list.) Just take something small and make it big. Who knows? It could change your life!
Share Your Stories
Kindness is catching, so help pass it on! Inspire others by sharing your plans and “Walk in the Copes’ Shoes” stories. Talk to your church, schools and work, update your friends, post on the “Walk in the Copes’ Shoes” Facebook page. Just get the word out that Kearney is committed to practicing kindness!
Walk in the Copes' Shoes on Facebook
Other Ways to Step Up
Help continue the zest for philanthropy and learn more about Kearney’s second annual Step Out and Serve on Sunday, September 15. Several members of Kearney-area churches are forgoing Sunday church service to serve the community. More than 1,400 parishioners will take to the streets to visit shut-ins, paint houses, help landscape and much more. For more information, contact Dean Buse at New Life Assembly at (308) 237-5968 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step Out and Serve!
Suggested Act of Kindness Ideas
Several benefactors of the Copes were consulted to help create this list, but anyone can take part in this annual event! If you’d like to donate your time to “Walk in the Copes’ Shoes” or wish to add your ideas for how your agency can benefit from an act of kindness, please contact Judi Sickler at 308-237-3114 or Judi@kearneyfoundation.org.
·Clean up graffiti/pick up trash
· Read to or play music for the elderly
· Help someone with yard work
· Hold the door open for someone
· Let someone go in line in front of you
· Pay the tab for the person behind you
· Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life
· Adopt a soldier/veteran
· Thank a Hero; fire/rescue, police, teacher
· Donate blood
· Have a charity day at work
· Plant a tree
Why wait? Help us get the ball rolling and start performing acts of kindness today! Just print off this informational sheet to leave behind. That way the recipient of your kindness will get an opportunity to walk in the Copes' shoes, too.
“Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend of mankind.” a cross-stitch in the Copes’ home
“I think part of everyone’s life is to invest in something other than themselves.” —Carol Cope, in an October 1991 interview about her Red Cross volunteer service in World War II
“I wanted other people to enjoy what I enjoy. It’s good for people who are interested in the arts to find other people with similar interests and share it with them. That’s what the arts are all about, sharing. Going to things keeps me alive; I need to see people. There are a lot of interesting people in Kearney. You get as much from talking to people as you do from reading and watching television.”—Jan. 31, 2006, when she received the Thomas C. Woods III Partner in the Arts Award at the Governor’s Art Awards