(Extensions of Remarks - January 29, 2003)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E112-E113]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                      TRIBUTE TO WILLIAM COPELAND


                           HON. MARCY KAPTUR

                                of ohio

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, January 29, 2003

  Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, the end of the year 2002 brings with it the 
retirement of a distinguished public servant in Ohio. William Copeland 
will be retiring as a Lucas County, Ohio, Commissioner, bringing to a 
close 28 years in service to the people of our region.
  Raised in Toledo, Ohio, Bill was a stand-out baseball and basketball 
player at Woodward High School and gained All-City recognition. After 
high school, he earned a degree in education from South Carolina State 
University. Following college, Bill played basketball for New York's 
Komedy Kings, a semiprofessional team, which won sixty consecutive 
games during Bill's tenure. This feat earned Bill an invitation to join 
the Harlem Globetrotters.
  During this time, Bill was also working in Toledo and a member of the 
Laborers Union

[[Page E113]]

Local 500. For over 30 years he served the union as representative, 
business manager, and business agent. Funds were raised under his 
stewardship to build a hall which now bears his name in thanks from his 
union brothers and sisters.
  In 1974, Bill was persuaded to run for Toledo City Council and won. 
In 1983, having been the highest vote-getter, he was elected by his 
council colleagues as Vice Mayor. With his 1985 election as county 
recorder, Bill became the first African-American to hold a county 
office. He was appointed to the Board of Lucas County Commissioners in 
1990--again making history as the first African-American County 
Commissioner. For many years, he was the only African-American serving 
on a board of county commissioners among Ohio's 88 counties. 
Commissioner Copeland has handily won reelection to three successive 
terms. He diligently pursued many major projects including new home 
ownership and housing rehabilitation initiatives, a regional water 
study, new ballpark, juvenile justice center, and the establishment of 
the Corporation for Effective Government to name but a few.
  An integral member of our community, Bill Copeland has devoted 
himself to public service while actively participating in numerous 
organizations. While an elected official, Bill worked with the Toledo 
Zoological Society, Kidney Foundation, Indiana Avenue Missionary 
Baptist Church, Lucas County Democratic Executive Committee, YMCA, 
NAACP, Labor-Management Citizens Committee, AFL-CIO, Frederick Douglass 
Community Center, American Heart Association, Old Newsboys, COMPASS, 
Toledo Jazz Society, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and Toledo Civic 
Breakfast Club. It was often said and very true, that Bill Copeland was 
  Though he will receive dozens of accolades upon his retirement, I 
believe a statement made by Toledo Blade associate editor Rose Russell 
sums up Bill Copeland best: ``With so much power at his fingertips for 
more than two decades, he will go down in Toledo history as a political 
stalwart who hasn't found it necessary to boast, be arrogant, or snub 
anyone. He merely has gone his way and worked for the people who 
elected him.''
  Humbly, quietly, with grace, honor, kindness and dignity always, Bill 
Copeland went about the job he was elected to do. Lucas County 
government will miss his dignified presence and thoughtful governance. 
Politically, Bill spurred people to get out and vote, giving people in 
the central city the inspiration to change their lives through their 
power at the polls. These skills are his true legacy, and I join with 
the chorus from our community in a heartfelt ``Thank You.''