Discussion in 'Black People Doing Positive Things' started by cherryblossom, Feb 19, 2013.
CULTURE > BACK WORDS
Delbert McCoy overcomes catastrophic burns to inspire others
METRO TIMES PHOTO/BILL GEMMELLDelbert McCoy: "You can't get too depressed..."
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Past last call (11/19/2003)
Legislation would let Detroit keep bars open till 4 a.m.
BY CHRIS BEHNAN
Detroit native Delbert McCoy remembers life milestones very well. The day he met his first wife, Yvonne: a Saturday in August of 1965. The first time he met his current finance, Renée: a family reunion in June of 1992. The day his mother passed away: Aug. 19, 1988.
The most vivid date in McCoy’s mind, however, is Jan. 12, 1969. On that day, he was robbed of his youth, virility and dreams.
At age 19, McCoy was already married to Yvonne and was supporting two daughters, Monique and Kim. He worked at the Chrysler Truck Plant in Warren and the Chevrolet Gear and Axle Plant across the street. Despite his relative youth, McCoy was a union representative at the Chrysler plant, often settling disputes between workers and management. With two steady paychecks coming in, he was able to provide a stable home for his family.
“Everything was what you’d want. Everything was going good,” he says.
On that winter’s night in 1969, McCoy’s life was turned upside down in a matter of minutes. Having that night off work, he made plans to meet some friends at the Soul Expression disco. The club, located at Dexter and Rochester on Detroit’s west side, was alcohol and drug free, and largely attracted teenagers. Patrons entered from the ground level, climbed a set of wooden stairs and paid $1 to enter.
Having arrived before his friends, McCoy stood at the end of the line in the stairwell. Shortly after he arrived, a man later identified as Ronald Robinson opened the front door and threw a glass bottle inside. Just as McCoy realized the vestibule had been doused with gasoline, another man, identified as Eugene Kelley, threw a match inside. The staircase and club entrance were immediately engulfed in flames.
McCoy, realizing the fire had reached his legs, made a dash for the top of the stairs. His shoes were wet with gasoline, and he slipped into the fiery pit at the bottom of the stairs. Flames enveloped his body, but he managed to ascend the steps just before they collapsed. A man threw a coat over him. He was transported to Detroit General Hospital, where he was given little chance for survival.
McCoy would spend much of the next three years in hospitals, attempting to recover from burns to more than 85 percent of his body. To date, he has undergone 108 separate surgeries, including massive skin grafts, two kidney operations, and facial reconstruction. A chemical application procedure made it possible for him to close his eyes. Additional reconstructive work is planned for his eyes, ears and facial skin.....
CONTINUED HERE: http://www2.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=5583
The Fire In My Soul: a memoir [Paperback]
Delbert McCoy (Author), Tim Sheard (Contributor)
Are you familiar with this Detroit legend?
I remember the incident
I think he's such an inspiration. It's a shame, tho, that the 2 men who did it only served such short sentences. They shoulda been charged with attempted murder and arson.
I believe the pled out. Thus the short sentences.
Separate names with a comma.