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DECATUR BOY RESCUES LITTLE SISTER
Kalamazoo Gazette. ^ | Thursday, February 19, 2004 | cmccool

Posted on 02/19/2004 7:18:50 PM PST by MaryFromMichigan

DECATUR BOY RESCUES LITTLE SISTER

Thursday, February 19, 2004

cmccool@kalamazoogazette.com 388-8575

DECATUR -- The ground opened up and swallowed his little sister, and Vaughn Copeland jumped in after her.

Some people grow old wondering whether they'd make the right split-second decision in a crisis. At the age of 7, Vaughn proved himself a hero. He saved his little sister's life Monday.

The siblings were playing outside in the family's back yard Monday night when an abandoned septic tank suddenly collapsed beneath Alexanna Copeland. The 4-year-old girl fell into a cavity filled with water well over her head.

"She knows how to swim, but not without a (life preserver) jacket," Vaughn said. "I jumped in to save her."

Thomas and Marcie Copeland and their two children moved into the small ranch home just inside the village limits three years ago, Thomas Copeland said. The neighborhood has been hooked up to public utilities since 1971, according to city officials, and the Copelands had no idea there was an old septic tank just feet from their back porch until it apparently caved in Monday.

The hole that swallowed Alexanna was not large -- barely big enough for an adult, plenty wide enough for a thin 4-year-old girl. A foot or two down, it opened up into a larger cavity, about six feet deep, with nearly four feet of standing, sludgy, brown water.

Vaughn peered in and saw his sister's head go under, so he jumped in, grabbed the front of her coat and lifted her up the best he could. The water, he said, was just under his chin.

"It was really, really cold," he said. "I started screaming for help."

Thomas Copeland said both he and Marcie were inside when they heard their childrens' cries. They ran outside, but

didn't see anything until they spotted Vaughn's mitten poking mysteriously out of the ground. Copeland hauled his kids up out of the hole and into a hot shower.

"If it wasn't for him, she'd be gone," he said. "It was really lucky he was out here with her."

Alexanna swallowed a little water, but is otherwise fine, her father said. The Van Buren County Health Department is going to test the water from the hole, and the Copelands will follow up with their doctor, he said.

Dale Avery, who heads the village's Public Works Department, said the old septic tank was probably built when the house was constructed at least 45 years ago. Many of the homes in the neighborhood probably have old septic systems still in the ground, he said.

"This one here could have been an old metal one," Avery said. "When contractors hooked up (to the sewer), they would normally cut and cap the lines -- they didn't necessarily fill them (the tanks) in."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: boy; decatur; hero; imisstexascowboy; kalamazoogazette; michigan; rescue; septictank; sister
"Vaughn peered in and saw his sister's head go under, so he jumped in, grabbed the front of her coat and lifted her up the best he could. The water, he said, was just under his chin.

"It was really, really cold," he said. "I started screaming for help."

This seven year old is one gutsy kid.

1 posted on 02/19/2004 7:18:51 PM PST by MaryFromMichigan
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To: Tooters
No greater love......God bless and preserve this young man...
2 posted on 02/19/2004 7:27:15 PM PST by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: Tooters
Wonderful story. God bless this wonderful kid.
3 posted on 02/19/2004 7:31:51 PM PST by Paul_B
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To: TexasCowboy; Brad's Gramma; Proud_texan
God bless this very young hero...
4 posted on 02/19/2004 7:31:55 PM PST by MaryFromMichigan ("The Passion" If you loved the Book, you'll love the movie)
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To: Tooters
"She knows how to swim, but not without a (life preserver) jacket," Vaughn said. "I jumped in to save her."

G-d bless you Vaughn. G-d make his face to shine on you and give you peace.

5 posted on 02/19/2004 7:32:52 PM PST by af_vet_1981
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To: Tooters
They said they were lucky that he was out there. No they weren't---they were blessed by God that he was out there with her. Praise be to God!
6 posted on 02/19/2004 7:38:47 PM PST by MarcoPolo
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To: Tooters
A future Republican, for sure!
7 posted on 02/19/2004 7:42:32 PM PST by shiva
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To: Tooters
WOW!!! Now THIS is a hero! God bless him, indeed.
8 posted on 02/19/2004 7:54:47 PM PST by Bradís Gramma (Pray for America and Israel)
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To: Tooters
Good story bump.
9 posted on 02/19/2004 8:02:09 PM PST by txzman (Jer 23:29)
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To: Tooters
Thanks for the ping, Tooters!

This little boy won't have to wonder if he's made of hero stuff.
He proved that at an early age.

May God bless this little boy, and thank you, God, for Your guiding hand.

10 posted on 02/19/2004 8:03:51 PM PST by TexasCowboy (COB1)
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To: Tooters
What a fantastic kid! Thank God they are both well.
11 posted on 02/19/2004 8:07:28 PM PST by I'm ALL Right!
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To: Tooters
Always great to hear stories about kids with the Right Stuff!
12 posted on 02/19/2004 8:29:52 PM PST by Kirkwood
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To: Tooters
When contractors hooked up (to the sewer), they would normally cut and cap the lines -- they didn't necessarily fill them (the tanks) in."

Don't you just love contractors. I know I do. /sar

13 posted on 02/19/2004 9:18:46 PM PST by Indie (That earthling has stolen the Iludium 238 explosive space modulator!!)
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