By Natalie Simms
Family and friends of the late Cole Couey, the 2020 Model High graduate who was tragically killed in a car crash on Jan. 31 (background), have launched a non-profit organization dedicated to carrying on his legacy. The purpose of The Cole Couey Foundation is to honor and celebrate Cole’s life by raising funds to provide scholarships for Model High School seniors, as well as promote community service opportunities.
“When Cole died, everyone wanted to do something. The community really supported the Couey Family with donations on GoFund me and other accounts. They received a lot of money, so the Couey’s wanted to do something to honor him. These funds will be the seed money to start this Foundation and provide the scholarships,” says Jud Rutland, who along with his wife, Pam, serve on the Board of Directors for the Foundation.
Other board members include Cole’s parents, Brad and Brandi Couey; Matt Green, Youth Minister at Sherwood Baptist Church; and Mike Crego, managing director of Investments for Benjamin F. Edwards & Co.
“Applications are now available for any Model High School senior to apply for the scholarship, which we plan to award this May. It is possible we may provide more than one scholarship, but that is still being determined,” says Pam Rutland.
According to the Foundation’s Facebook page, Cole was “known for his quick wit, outgoing personality, and loving spirit. He was truly a friend to all. To know Cole was to love Cole…His compassion was shown through multiple community service projects, both locally and nationally.”
The scholarship is called the Love & Respect Scholarship because that represents how Cole lived his life.
“Cole had a relationship with Jesus and his personality was big. He went out of his way to make everyone feel special. This Foundation is a way to not only honor his life, but also point people to Jesus at the same time,” says Green, who also serves as Team Chaplain for the Model High football team.
April 14 is Cole’s birthday, he would have been turning 19 years old. Since this will be his first birthday in Heaven, the Foundation Board thought it appropriate to honor his legacy with a day of “random acts of Coleness” or “Be Someone’s Cole”, by encouraging the community to love Christ and love others.
“We know this day will be hard for everyone, so we wanted to do something to turn this day around,” says Pam. “Starting Sunday (today) and every day through April 14, his friends will be each sharing a video on the Facebook event page describing how Cole impacted their life and ways you can do the same for others.”
Green adds, “It’s an opportunity to spread joy instead of sadness and to bring more light to this world. We want to challenge people to be more like Cole. Everyday, he thought of others before himself…we want people to live the way he did and think of others.”
The Foundation hopes the “random acts of Coleness” day would spur others to be share kindness daily, not just on Cole’s birthday.
“We want people to share any ‘random act of Coleness’ or ‘being someone’s Cole’ by sharing various ideas or examples on social media with the hashtag #besomeonescole. It’s about developing a lifestyle of pure joy and kindness, not just one day,” says Pam.
As for what’s ahead, the Foundation plans to highlight certain community service projects that would represent serving the community the way Cole would have done. Specific projects and events are still being discussed.
If anyone would like to contribute to The Cole Couey Foundation, you can make a Venmo donation to @Brandi-Couey or donate to the Cole Couey Foundation account at Greater Community Bank.