Local Businessman Kelly Copeland Donates Vehicle to OCU Disaster Management Program
Since its inception, the Disaster Management and Relief program at Ohio Christian University has always tried to be ahead of the curve. When the program was designed, the goal was to make OCU graduates as marketable as possible. After much research and discussion with leaders in the field it was determined that a graduate with the education was great. It was also determined that a graduate with experience was also great. Ohio Christian University’s program would be designed to give its students the “why” alongside the “how.” OCU would make sure that its students spent time doing what they were learning in the classroom.
It was determined early on that while valuable and needed, International trips were going to be difficult. The extensive cost and travel were not conducive to the college experience. It was proposed that the University focus in large part at the needs expressed domestically. They were more accessible and with some type of response truck, they would offer more experience to the student. OCU recognizing this, began looking for an emergency response vehicle. Disaster Management Director, Thad Hicks stated, “With a vehicle, OCU could augment any response organization. We would not be a burden but a real asset.” The process of finding a vehicle took over 2 years but last month President Mark Smith announced that one had been donated. Business man Kelly Copeland had approached Dr. Smith after hearing of our need, and offered to donate a large delivery truck to the program, free of charge. Director Hicks stated, “It came just in time.” OCU recently sent a team to Upstate NY for flood relief and while there, they worked out of a response vehicle belonging to Samaritans’ Purse. Hicks added, “Several times since they returned, I was approached about getting one, but we couldn’t afford it. Mr. Copeland’s gift was a Godsend.”
The vehicle will be sent to a shop in Marysville Ohio experienced in these types of projects. Tony Ackley, the shop’s owner has volunteered the location and his time for the work of getting the truck into emergency response shape. According to Ackley, work should begin on the truck in early January, and should be ready by June.