Community grieves over drowning of Stevens boy Kole A. Trupe

By on September 14, 2011

By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff, Staff Writer

As a community grieved the tragic loss and preparations were made for the funeral service of Kole Trupe, the eight-year-old Stevens boy who lost his life in the flood last Thursday, leaders of his church and school focused on providing counseling and support for his family and fellow students.

Eugene Weaver, the pastor of the Harvest Fellowship Church, where the Trupe family are members, asked the director of the children’s ministry to meet with the Sunday school teachers earlier this week. They talked about what happened and also about what they would see when they attended the viewing and funeral.

"We are offering counseling and help to the family and anyone who was at the scene," said Weaver. "

According to East Cocalico Township Police Department, officers arrived at the first block of Justin Circle at 1:57 p.m. Sept. 8 to find neighbors attempting to rescue Kole, was stuck in a drainage pipe, submerged in approximately three feet of water. Kole was rescued by officers in about five minutes; however, it was reported he had been underwater 15. The South Line Road resident, who had been playing at Justin Circle with about half a dozen other children, was transported to Ephrata Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 5 p.m., police said.

As previously reported by the Intelligencer Journal/ Lancaster New Era, County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni said that an autopsy performed last Friday revealed that Kole had accidentally drowned. He went into the pipe feet-first but became lodged at his underarms and was overcome by water, the coroner said.

It was also reported that police said adults were supervising Kole, his friends and siblings as they were playing in standing water when he suddenly became caught by the force of water entering the pipe. After officers Cpl. Darrick Keppley, Josh Sola and Chris Progin freed Kole, CPR was administered, Kole never again breathed on his own or had a pulse.

East Cocalico Township Police Chief George Beever reported to Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era that it wasn’t so much that the water was deep; it was the hydraulics of the pipe.

The church has set up a fund for donations and has been taking meals to the family’s house daily.

Harvest Fellowship is not alone in supporting the loved ones of Kole. The teachers and staff of Reamstown Elementary School, where he was a student, has made it a priority to do what they can to help students handle this difficult time while at the same time paying tribute to the eight-year-old in a special way.

According to school principal, Tabetha Haldeman, extra counselors were there last Friday as children settled into the classrooms on a two-hour delay in the somber aftermath of the storm, unsure of how to handle the loss of their fellow student.

"For those who were there or lived in the neighborhood it’s been a rough week," said Haldeman. "How do you deal with losing someone, and at such a young age?"

Haldeman said that many of the teachers know the family very well because of having one of the siblings in their class and therefore are dealing with an abundance of grief.

Not only did the school staff have counselors this week as well, but teachers and students have found a few ways to to honor the memory of Kole.

The school sent flowers to the family and is helping to direct contributions to the church. In addition, students are putting together a memory quilt. Each class is decorating a quilt square and writing a memory of Kole. They will then put it together and present it to the family.

According to Haldeman, the final honor to Kole, a boy who loved to play and be outdoors, was that guests were requested to come to the viewing dressed very casual and have bare feet.

"He loved to take his shoes off and just play, said Haldeman. "As a tribute for him, they asked guests to do likewise."

Kole Alexander Trupe was born in Ephrata to Jeffrey and Denise (Gehman) Trupe.

Kole had a sweet bubbly personality and enjoyed life. He especially enjoyed riding his bike, having fun with other children, playing in the creek, fishing, target shooting, puppies and playing with Legos.

In addition to his parents, Kole is survived by two brothers: Kyle Jeffrey Trupe and Korey Matthew Trupe, and a sister: Katelyn Marie Trupe, all at home; paternal grandmother: Sylvia (Becker) Trupe, of Ephrata; maternal grandparents: Paul and Edith (Weaver) Gehman, of Ephrata; paternal great- grandfather: Samuel K. Trupe, of Terre Hill; paternal great-grandmother: A. Ruth (Horning) Becker, of Ephrata; paternal uncle and aunts: Steve and Jennifer Cassel, of Ephrata; Kimberly Trupe, of Ephrata; Chad and Krystal Burkholder, of Newmanstown; Brendon and Jessica Weaver, of Ephrata; maternal uncles and aunts: Daryl and Carol Gehman, of Iowa; Dale and Brenda Gehman, of Ephrata; Dana and Donna Good, of Strasburg; and several cousins.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather: Robert L. Trupe.

Funeral services were held on Sept. 14 at Reamstown Church of God, 400 Pfautz Hill Road, Stevens, with Pastors Eugene Weaver and Ervin Miller officiating. Interment took place in the Fairview Cemetery, Annex, East Cocalico Township.

Memorial contributions in Kole’s memory may be made to the Harvest Fellowship Church, 34 W. Church St., Stevens, PA 17578.

Arrangements were made by Roseboro Stradling Funeral & Cremation Services Inc., Denver. Online condolences can be given at More TRUPE, page A7

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