Hope grows when good people come together with the sole purpose of helping one another. Hurricanes devastate communities. In that devastation, we often find stories of love, charity, and thankfulness.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas, the people of Elkhart, Indiana went to work. A massive relief effort, spearheaded by the good folks at Lippert Components, collected 95,000 lbs. of donations and organized trucks and drivers to transport the items.
Leah Benevento, the Philanthropic Relations Coordinator for Lippert Components, explained donations were collected from within the community. “We were blessed”, she said, “to partner with 15 businesses who were instrumental in helping secure some of the larger donations as well as transport them to their destinations.”
Kenny Kopf, founder of what would later become Kopf Logistics Group, heeded the call for help with his personal truck. At 8:00 p.m. on September 15th, Kenny and his wife left Elkhart, Indiana for the long trip to Texas. He was hauling 38 skids containing body pillows, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, blankets, food, dog food, kid toys and linens. His first stop was in Nashville, TN, where he slept four hours before hitting the road again.
Kenny reminisces on his first run as a truck driver. The date was July 22, 1966 and his son, Leroy (now President of KLG), was only 12 days old. That memory illuminates the kind of man Kenny is. Family, faith, and helping others are the rules he lives by.
This isn’t the first time Kenny has been involved in a relief effort. In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Kenny organized a fleet of 23 trucks to travel to the afflicted zone. He orchestrated each of the trucks while being a driver himself. He acted as the main contact among the drivers and made certain they arrived home safely.
Kenny’s mother used to say he didn’t know the meaning of the word “no.” He agrees with her sentiment explaining he’s always wanted to do things “bigger and better”. It is important to note this desire comes from his faith in God. He explained, “I’ve put down many miles with the Lord. He has saved my fanny plenty of times!” Paying this help forward is an important mission. As long as he is able, he will help others.
This belief in helping others is what fueled Kenny’s trip to Texas. Upon his arrival at West Houston Church of Christ on September 16th, there were at least 100 volunteers equipped with grocery carts unloading the supplies from his truck. They wheeled these donations into an auditorium filled to the brim with goods from other generous benefactors.
Kenny shared, “Seeing all those people working together and giving from their hearts brought tears to my eyes”. Before leaving the church, he said a prayer with the volunteers and bid them farewell.
When asked what he’d learned from this experience, Kenny shared he found there are many thankful people still in this world. He says, “You just don’t see a whole lot of that going around anymore”; yet, he found it there, in the middle of a hurricane zone.
Kenny has already been asked to return to Houston to help with the ongoing relief efforts. He left us with these words, “If the need is there, I will go”. Paying it forward yet again!