Bill Copelin

December 10, 2015

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Bill is a Northwest Arkansas native and has been working at JB Hunt for 30 years! He began as a Management Trainee in 1985 and is now the VP of Transportation. He and his wife have one son and are avid supporters of The Salvation Army! He currently serves on the Advisory Board.

If you were one of Santa’s reindeer, which would you be?
Blitzen- it’s the only one I can remember besides Rudolph!

What Holiday song lights up your holiday season?
So I like two more traditional songs: “White Christmas” and “Silver Bells”. But I also love “Silent Night”. And “Oh, Holy Night”. Mariah Carey really sings that well!!

How would you describe yourself in three adjectives?
Predictable: Because I see the relevance of doing things a certain way that give you a better outcome. So I trace those steps just about every day.
Persistent: If I believe in something, my passion goes with my vision.
Strategic: I am more of a big picture and ideas kind of guy!

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Who is your role model and why?
As a Christian, I would say Jesus is my role model. It builds my faith just hearing his words, “only believe”. He makes it simple, and then he goes out and does it to show us that it’s possible. And I think it can be done. In my life, I have seen instances where miracles took place, and it’s through everyday people.

That’s part of what I really like about The Salvation Army. Their services offer an environment where people are generally more relaxed. Needs are more apparent, and regardless of the gifts you’ve been given, there’s a place for that gift. They find where it interacts with the needs in the world. We all have needs that must be met, and only the Gospel can do that.

How did you get involved with The Salvation Army?
One day I was here and I was going to lunch. I felt a prompting of the Holy Spirit to call the Salvation Army Corps in Springdale and offer to take them lunch. I called, took their order and showed up.

I really thought I would go in for 10 minutes and go on my way, and my day would be complete.

But when I walked in there, they told me that the electricity went out in their kitchen that day, and they would have had to do without lunch. “It’s so interesting that God put it on your heart to bring us lunch”, the officers said. I looked around and saw the people being served and the officers, and I could see that there was more than enough to go around in trying to reach the needs. So one thing led to another and here I am… 10 years later!

I went home and told my wife about it, and we decided to begin attending [The Salvation Army] church. We taught Sunday School and got to know people. Lives that needed to know that they mattered, from the old and weak to the young and vulnerable. It’s a very worthwhile walk that The Salvation Army does for each community: it’s invaluable.

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What is your #redkettlereason?

The Salvation Army is God’s hands and feet, his heart and his voice. Of the organization’s I know they are the ones who most holistically reach out to those who are vulnerable.

We see pictures of people, but there are stories behind every person that really connect us. That really means something. There was a young boy who could not get close enough to my wife and me when we went to church there. His brother had special needs. They were early adolescence, and we noticed that they would eat a lot at the church potlucks. We found out that their parents were getting government assistance, but they weren’t using the money to pay for the boys’ lunch at school. They were hungry. The Salvation Army stepped in and made sure that those boys got lunches at school.

Another day I was there, this mother came in and she was frantic. It was freezing outside.  She had two or three little kids. A few things had tripped her up; she was a working single mother, but she just couldn’t pay her bills that month. The heat was going to be turned off, and she needed a miracle that day. The Salvation Army stepped in and paid her heating bill and kept her kids from being cold. That’s a miracle for that family.

I also know a number of people who have gone through the drug and rehabilitation program. I have seen people, who were affluent enough to have their own business and family, but tragedy struck and their ability to cope with it put them in a situation where they lost everything. They were humble enough to go through the Christian Drug and Rehabilitation Program that The Salvation Army supplies. Now they are working, back on their feet, and building back their lives.

What advice would you give to another business man or woman who wants to make a difference in NW Arkansas?

Get involved. Make a commitment. Step out of your schedules and be intentional!

You can give of your time, talents and resources in your home, neighborhood or workplace. Be ready in season and out whether it’s convenient or not. When I was young, I was more wrapped up in my career. It took time for God to soften me and show me that I can give back and live my faith.

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Is there anything you would like to add?
I want to express my gratitude to all the people who give fully of themselves in their love for mankind. Those who let go of the world and hold onto the Kingdom. The Salvation Army is a great example of that. One man cared about the souls of people in England, and because of his vision [The Salvation Army] is now around the world.

It goes to show you that nothing is impossible with God.

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