Prague Community Supports Sisters Who Lost Their Parents

Monday, March 10th 2014, 8:07 pm
By: Craig Day

Oklahomans are rallying around two girls in Prague going through the most incredibly heartbreaking time of their young lives. The sisters recently lost both parents. Now, some of Oklahoma's own are working to make a difference.

16-year-old Emily and 11-year-old Hallie Cooper are active in livestock shows, showing goats.

Last week, as they were getting ready in Prague's show arena for a show the next day, their mom Crystal collapsed and died.

"It just hurts to see somebody from our community go through this," said Tanner Thompson, Prague FFA Advisor.

Then, just one day later, their dad, John, was killed in a car wreck in Stroud. So the girls suddenly lost both parents in two days' time.

"Just can't even imagine the pain that she's going through and her sister is going through," Thompson said.

In the close knit world of junior livestock shows, their friends are grieving for the girls.

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Their friend Racine Cleveland, said, "My heart was torn to pieces. I sat in my bed and I cried because I hurt so much for her."

Cleveland is one of the FFA students in Prague, trying to support the girls. Her own mother suddenly passed away when Racine was an 8th grader.

"It's more difficult than anyone could ever imagine," Cleveland said.

Once word of the girl's parents deaths spread on Facebook, people involved in the livestock show industry started organizing the Emily and Hallie Cooper online benefit auction.

Online auction organizer, Todd Kennedy, said, "We'll give them some immediate money, and funds to help them right now, but we, our ultimate goal is to get a trust set up so we know they're cared for, for quite some time down the road."

What started with animals and show related items, kept growing with more donors, and FFA chapters statewide, contributing things that people outside the livestock show industry might want. Kennedy says the response is overwhelming.

"Anytime anything comes together and whether it be a tragedy or whatever, when something is needed, you can really count on Oklahoma people coming together and doing what needs to be done," Kennedy said.

The girls have a lot of family support in Prague, but others want them to know they also have support from a broader family of people who care.

The benefit auction will be held March 25th.