WKU community pitches in after professor’s house burns

Anna Lawson

The WKU community has proven once again that it is not only a campus but a family.

Recently, James McCoy, supervisor of Special Services, lost his home to a fire. Since then, the entire university has worked to support him and his son financially and emotionally.

“I owe the whole community a thanks from the bottom of my heart for everything they have done,” he said. “They all went above and beyond what was necessary. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be supporting me.”

Among those supporters is Associate Athletic Director Craig Biggs, who has worked with MCCoy for nearly 15 years.

“We organized money for the bank fund and took up donations for him because he is an important part of what we do,” he said. “We feel like he is a member of our staff even though he works for another area on campus.”

McCoy said he is extremely grateful for what he has gotten from them.

“It is more then I could have ever expected. The support has been phenomenal,” he said.

The fire occurred in the early hours of Feb. 10. McCoy was awoken by his son who smelled smoke and began to search the house, finding a back room on fire.

He then told his son to grab what he could and get out. McCoy then went inside to get their dogs that were still inside. The fire was caused by an electrical short in the wires in the attic.

McCoy and his son have rented a trailer for the time being. They are not financially able to rebuild, and are currently searching for a new home.

“It is one of those things where you just have to hurry up and wait,” he said. “I am fine and doing well right now. I am just in the process of trying to absorb what happened and figure out what to do.”

“We aren’t in need of anything right now, we’re are pretty much comfortable,” McCoy said.

Jeff Younglove, director of campus and community events, has known McCoy for about 16 years. Younglove said that McCoy has always done whatever is asked of him in a professional and friendly manner.

“He does it in a quality that we expect, and he treats everyone how he wants to be treated,” Younglove said. “He never tells me no, and he will work around the clock. The problem is telling him to cut back, he is always someone that I can depend on.”

Younglove also said that McCoy has maintained a great relationship with his coworkers.

“Everybody thinks very highly of him. He is a very positive person. Before he became supervisor he was assistant supervisor. He was a very obvious and natural choice for the supervisor position,” he said.

McCoy also didn’t let the trauma affect his work performance.

“He was gone the week it happened, but he came in every day after that. He probably feels bad every time he takes a few hours off, but he makes up for it and is always around,” Younglove said. “He is just as dependable as ever.”

McCoy said he couldn’t ask for a more supporting group of people, and he is focusing on the positive.

“This place really is one big family, and they really went beyond my expectations,” he said.

“We are doing okay, we both got out alive,” McCoy said. “Material things can be replaced, but there are a few things we won’t get back.”

The support McCoy and his family have received has been campus wide. Younglove said McCoy is very respected and well thought of with everyone he works with.

“I can’t say I’m surprised by the strong support across campus,” Younglove said. “Even the people who just know his name know that he is a great guy and have given him support.

“This has proven that the motto ‘The Spirit Makes the Master’ really is true here,” Younglove said. “It has shown that it isn’t just a place to work or a place to go to school, it is a family.”