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Jason Rowdy Cope memorial fund raises thousands of dollars

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 5:41 PM EDT
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BELL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - For country music artist Jason “Rowdy” Cope, a lifelong mission for him began with addressing a problem.

“It just completely transformed his life,” Cope’s sister Bethany O’Handley said. “So the last three years with Jason were, he just felt so free and truly healed.”

Cope dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder throughout his life. In his final years, however, he began to use his musical talent and experience to help others.

“He sort of made it his mission with the new record with The Steel Woods being his band,” O’Handley said. “He said I just want to utilize every opportunity I have to carry this torch for healing.”

Following his death in January, Cope’s group made visiting Eastern Kentucky a priority as they hosted events for the Jason Rowdy Cope Memorial Fund.

“We had a motorcycle ride down in Pineville, it was throughout Bell County,” Cope’s friend Jessica Blankenship said. “And the band specifically had said they want to come back to Bell County. They performed last year and after talking to Rowdy, they said we want to bring our fan club party here.”

The event brought people from all over the country as they raised more than $10,000 in two days.

“It brought people from California, Texas, Indiana, Florida,” Blankenship said. “You name it, they came.”

All of the support has left O’Handley thankful as she continues to reflect on her brother’s legacy.

“He would be so thrilled to see the efforts that people have gone to and feel the love and appreciation,” O’Handley said. “He was so much more than just an incredible guitar player, he was an incredible human being.”

Both O’Handley and Blankenship said that they plan to host more events in Kentucky soon.

Original Story

A country music artist with ties to Eastern Kentucky died due to diabetes complications in January, but his legacy lives on.

When he died, Cope was working to help military veterans that suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which he also struggled with.

In his honor, a memorial fund was started and has since brought in several thousands of dollars.

“Now the conversation is sort of switching to okay, what all can we do?” said Cope’s sister, Bethany O’Handley. “How much can we do with what we have and how can we continue that? And that’s been really I think just rewarding on a personal basis for everybody that’s involved which is a gift that I feel like Jason kind of left for us.”

O’Handley and a family friend said they are looking to host more fundraising events in Bell County in the near future.

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