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People Taking Action: Local dad who volunteers as coach surprised with award!

Posted at 7:02 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 19:02:37-05

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - At the Cavalier Manor neighborhood gym - this is where you'll find coach Carlton Copeland, running drills with kids on all ages on a regular basis.

He retired after 26 years with Costco and now oversees the fall basketball league in Cavalier Manor. Copeland coaches three of the five teams in this league.

He means a lot to the kids, like 11-year-old Alexis Williams.

"You never know what a kid can go through at home or you never know if anybody is getting bullied or anything, and Coach Carlton is like a person to help you through your problems. He's like a mentor," Alexis told us.

In addition to overseeing this program, Copeland coordinates toy giveaways, school supply drives and organizes community cookouts. And he's not just playing Santa around Christmas; he's also organizing turkey drop-offs at local schools.

Plus, he and his wife, Millicent Copeland, have eight kids, so we had to ask her: When does she see him? She responded with a laugh.

"In the morning... early in the morning, late at night."

But she knows the value of what he's doing - and so does Copeland's sister, Dionne Copeland, who was the one who nominated him.

"I just think he deserves it. I think he deserves it, all at no cost - he does it for free! Week after week, month after month, year after year - he does it for free," Dionne said.

So, for all those reasons, News 3 presented Copeland with a News 3 People Taking Action award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

Copeland was very thankful for the recognition, but he says it's not about him.

"Most of all, I want to give all honor to God because that's where my strength comes from - making sure I take care of the kids and serve Him and make sure I'm not putting myself first, but putting God's children first," he said.