Who are the Unsung Heroes in Your Life?

Josh Bechler Writer for Rocking God's HouseThis article is a tribute to a man named Jimmy Copley — an unsung hero in my life. Before I share my testimony about how God can use people in amazing ways, I’d like to invite all of our readers to share their stories of their unsung heroes. Please leave a comment at the end of this post sharing a story of an unsung hero in your life. This is a great opportunity to honor people who’ve made a wonderful difference in your life.

Jimmy Copley is a man who truly believed in me and gave me hope and a second shot at life. Mr. Copley is the Adult Education Supervisor at the Hickman County Adult Education Center in Centerville and Bon Aqua, Tennessee.

God puts special people in your life for a reason. Jimmy Copley is one of my special people. But not just mine; he has touched a lot of people’s lives. He helped me become “test savvy” as he calls it. He taught me how to dance around mathematics like running back Barry Sanders dancing around linebackers in his glory days. This was much better than my old approach, which was to plow through the questions — an intimidating and scary task.

When I met Mr. Copley I was homeless, unemployed, and without my high school diploma. I had no shred of hope until Jimmy Copley and his G.E.D. program and tutoring pulled me out of the pit. It reminds me of a Bible verse from Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Several years ago in my early twenties I had taken and failed the math portion of the G.E.D. test three times. With Mr.Copley’s help, not only did I pass the reading, writing, and science portions, but I passed the math portion on my first try. I got my high school diploma thanks to him.

Jimmy Copley is not famous. Aside from this article, his name may never ring outside of his small home town of Centerville, Tennessee; but he is a man who loves and embodies the compassion of Jesus Christ. He is a husband, a father, and an educator, and he will forever have a special place in my heart because of the impact he made on my life. Mr. Copley is one of my heroes!

I had a chance to chat with Mr. Copley and get a glimpse of what it takes to be a successful educator and change people’s lives.

When did you know you wanted to become an educator?

I think by 9th or 10th grade I knew that I wanted to be an educator.

Your program has a great staff; can you tell us more about your staff?

We do have a great administrative staff. We want everyone to feel welcomed when they first walk through the door. When necessary, we go the extra mile to meet the needs of our students. We understand that for many it takes a lot of courage to return to school. We want everyone to feel at ease and know that we build on the skills they have. I know this is the norm for AE programs across the state.

How did you develop such a love and patience for your students?

That has always been there — especially in the early years of my teaching. I dreaded the school year ending because I had to let my students move on. I got over that. I feel privileged to teach. They give back much more than I give.

What is your favorite bible verse?

Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (King James Verse).

How did you develop your methods for teaching students to become “test savvy”?

I have had many good mentors over my 41 years of teaching. Realizing that students learn differently, I believe that good teachers will adapt their instruction to the learning style of the students. I believe in keeping it simple and checking often for understanding.

You offer the option for students who can’t afford the testing fees a program that funds the tests at no cost to them. How can people donate to that program to help people in need?

Any donation can be made to the Three Rivers Adult Education Program, Service District Area 34 serving Hickman, Lewis, and Perry County. Address: 1675 Bulldog Blvd. Centerville, TN 37033. All donations are used to pay indigent teaching fees.

Mr. Copley, you treat people the way God truly wants us all to treat people. Who do you accredit to influencing who you are as a person?

My family has had the greatest impact on me. I was blessed to have Christian parents who taught through example and spared “not” the rod. Being the youngest of eight children, I have always looked up to my brothers and sisters. They are the greatest!

How many students have you helped graduate so far in your career?

I have had a part in helping 1,000-1,200 students earn their high school equivalency diploma.

What made you decide to become an Adult Education Teacher?

The opportunity to work in the Adult Education Program came in 1994. I was a 7th grade math teacher, by day, and taught in the AE Program 1-2 nights each week. Our AE supervisor, Martha Brown, tragically lost her life in a car accident. I was then given the opportunity to become the AE Supervisor.


Please be sure to leave a comment below sharing your own story of an unsung hero in your life!