Cooper Ray DeSpain was a 9-year-old Marble Falls student and outdoor enthusiast when he died in an ATV accident on Aug. 8, 2014. One of his brothers started a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses.
“The response was crazy incredible,” said his mother, Trenton DeSpain.
In the end, funeral expenses were taken care of in other ways, so they put the Facebook donations in a scholarship fund.
They also established the popular Shoot for Coop fundraiser, which helps feed the scholarship endowment.
The first scholarships were awarded to high school seniors based on eligibility and a personal essay. Shoot for Coop honors Cooper’s love for the outdoors with a family-friendly day of shooting skeet at Copperhead Creek Shooting Club, 7030 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls. The very first Shoot for Coop raised $40,000. It has gotten bigger every year, with about 500 people now attending.
“It’s a family event, it’s fun,” Trenton said. “It’s more a celebration of life instead of something sad. We know Cooper’s always there in spirit.”
The event and the scholarship are designed to honor Cooper’s memory as a young man who “loved his family more than anything.”
“He has five older brothers and sisters,” Trenton said. “He was an old soul for such a little boy. He was an amazing little boy.”
The DeSpain family established the scholarship and Shoot for Coop to make sure their son would not be forgotten.
“That’s a parent’s biggest fear,” Trenton said. “All of this is based on what we imagined he would grow up to be.”
For more on Shoot for Coop, visit shootforcoop.com.