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Bless the heart of Bill Redding, who stood up at the public hearing on rezoning lots for parking spaces east of ECU...

WOODWARD: Cooper had knack for big impact

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Nelson Cooper with his wife, Mary Ann, during the Bo Run at Boyd Lee Park on Sept. 17, 2016.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

On April 25, 2013, Nelson Cooper sent me a message on Twitter.

“Gordon’s golf and ski is on fire really bad. Looks pretty bad,” Cooper wrote.

I wasn’t sure what to do with the information at first, but I trusted Cooper because of our many conversations in the D.H. Conley High School football press box and I already was in the newsroom working the sports night shift. I walked over to a news editor and told her that there might be breaking news brewing.

A few phone calls were made and we were able to get a short story in the next day’s newspaper. People thanked me, but it was Cooper who deserved the credit.

This was Nelson Cooper.

The man who seemed to be everywhere and involved in so many things around Greenville, especially sports related and presumably because he loved to be around people and help others, died of ALS on Thursday.

His role as a student advisor and teacher at East Carolina University catered to him making an impact on young people.

He also had a major part in starting men’s “F3” workouts in Greenville, based on fitness, fellowship and faith.

He was heavily involved in D.H. Conley athletics, often heard as the public address announcer at various games.

Cooper was a family man, and he took pride in his last name.

He also had a big impact on East Carolina baseball pitcher Evan Kruczynski, who is from Franklin, Wisc., and who was a student of Cooper’s. It was an honor for me to write a story in March about their friendship and how Cooper went to Clark-LeClair Stadium as much as possible this spring to watch the tall left-hander pitch, and how Kruczynski vowed to honor Cooper during his senior season.

In some ways, I viewed the story as a final thank you to Cooper for his years of graciousness.

(Link to story on Cooper, ECU baseball)

After I thanked Cooper for the news tip about the fire back in 2013, he shrugged it off and said he was glad to help.

“Tough loss. I hope they reopen,” he wrote.

Greenville was dealt a tough loss this week, but this also is the perfect time to share stories about Nelson Cooper and his unique impact.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

High Schools

August 05, 2018

The J.H. Rose football program is one known for winning conference championships and other titles alike. 

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August 04, 2018

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August 03, 2018

After ending their 2017 season in the dead center of the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference, the Ayden-Grifton Chargers look to improve in 2018 with several key returning pieces.

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August 02, 2018

A Farmville Central football team that has seen its state title hopes ended in the first round of the playoffs in the past is hopeful to make the leap for a deep playoff run in the immediate future.

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August 01, 2018

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July 31, 2018

High school football teams across North Carolina were back in action Monday, as the day marked the first official day of the 2018 football season.

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July 26, 2018

In a game that requires concentration and determination, J.H. Rose senior golfer Carter Rains strives to push himself and his game to its full potential every time he steps in the tee box. Preps writer Jake Keator spoke with Rains between rounds at the Carolina’s Golf Association Boys…

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July 19, 2018

If you’re watching a local baseball game, odds are you’ll see Drew Nichols right up front in the batting order. The talented leadoff batter and defensive specialist is no stranger to the pressure of the game. Preps writer Jake Keator spoke with Nichols about growing up playing baseball…

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July 12, 2018

Grant Charles Jarman is a multifaceted athlete with a knack for leading a team. He will take the reigns of the Rampants football team as the starting quarterback this season and be a pivotal piece on the baseball diamond as a senior. High School preps writer Jake Keator spoke with Jarman about his…

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July 04, 2018

Standout prep softball pitcher Lexie Vincent has had an interesting road to D.H. Conley High School. Her hard work has paid off, as she has become one of the hardest pitchers for batters to read. High School preps writer Jake Keator talked with Vincent about how she fell in love with softball and…

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