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Publication: The Detroit News
Sequence: DTN12070032
Book: B
Page: 5
Edition: Final
Section: Metro Copyright:
Copyright 1997 The Detroit News, Inc.

Source: Kate Lawson The Detroit News

Outpouring of generosity overwhelms firebomb victim

The envelope was addressed to "Delbert McCoy" in large, shaky, block letters. There was no name, no return address, just a Detroit postmark. Inside was a single dollar bill.

The next envelope contained a check for $500 from a woman in Bloomfield Hills who asked to remain anonymous.

People from across the country -- rich, poor, white, black, young and old -- have responded with compassion and generosity to McCoy, of Detroit, who is still dealing with injuries he sustained in a firebombing nearly 30 years ago.His incredible struggle was detailed in a story in The Detroit News on Nov. 14. So far, donations have amounted to more than $11,000, not including offers for free legal and medical help.

"I never sure expected all of this," McCoy said as he was presented with the first group of checks. He said he plans to try to acknowledge everyone who contributed, although many did not include their names.

"I'm unemployed," wrote one anonymous contributor who sent $10, "but I know Mr. McCoy needs the money more than I do."

Betty Rohac of Munising, Mich., said she was moved to tears by McCoy's story and sent a check to him through The News' Helping Hands program. "My heart goes out to him," she said.

David Vanderbilt was in Detroit on business when McCoy's story appeared. He tucked the article in his briefcase. When he returned home to Long Beach, Calif., he sent a check to McCoy.

"I can't explain it," said Vanderbilt. "I was touched by his story. I feel pretty blessed that I have such a wonderful life. People really are good. This is a wonderful way to show others who we really are."

At the law firm of Hyman Lippitt P.C. in Birmingham, associates Robert Lippitt and Roger Myers read about McCoy's difficulty in getting Medicaid to cover certain medical expenses.

Both Lippitt and Myers are working with General Motors Corp.'s Vice-chairman Harry Pearce, Rod Gillum, vice-president of public policy, and Jim Cubbin, executive director of health care, to get McCoy the medical treatment he needs.

"We are looking into his other needs as well," Cubbin said.

Dr. Sandra Brown of Southfield, a dermatologist, is already treating McCoy for free with a nonsurgical technique she uses for keloids and scars.

In Detroit, Cal Dilworth, director of the Masters Sports Program, an over-50 association that is part of Detroit's recreation program, is planning a benefit basketball game for McCoy.

Detroit's community of blues musicians will hold a benefit for McCoy at 9 p.m. Dec. 23 in the Soup Kitchen Saloon in downtown Detroit.