Cupit spends lifetime looking after others

Published 1:26 am Monday, April 28, 2008

NATCHEZ — Jack Cupit’s calloused, grease and grass stained hands depict not a lifetime of hardship, rather one of giving — these are helping hands.

When the Dart fell on Dixie Drive, Cupit was driving a four-wheeler on his way back from fixing his lawnmower.

His lawnmower was tuckered out from all the work he had been doing that morning cutting other people’s grass.

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This he does not for extra pocket change, but out of the helping spirit.

He began his morning by cutting the grass at a church cemetery in Copiah County.

The church stands empty as attendance lulled to a stop from the days his parents were members.

In the cemetery are uncles nad aunts Cupit never knew, yet he still goes to cut the grass around their graves.

“I just keep it up on account of that,” Cupit said.

He then moves on to the lawns of the elderly.

“I cut grass for four or five old folks to help them,” he said.

He also cuts firewood for those who need it.

“I cut firewood for two or three folks not able to buy it or cut it,” he said.

Cupit’s hands have lifted him back onto his feet after several medical downfalls.

Fourteen years ago, Cupit was diagnosed with cancer.

“My doctor told me on a scale from one to 10, it was a seven,” he said.

He retired from his job at Armstrong Tire & Rubber Co. after his diagnosis, and he soon began his volunteering at St. Catherine National Wildlife Refuge, which he has been doing for 10 years.

He does many things for the refuge from working in the office, to help building a four-mile walking trail.

“I go wherever they send me,” he said.

At one point he helped plant 3 million trees in the area and he said so far the trees are looking good, though he won’t see them fully mature.

“I won’t live to see it because I’m 68 years old, but some child might be able to see a forest there someday,” Cupit said.

Another medical recovery was when Cupit fell 16 feet from a tree while hunting 11 years ago.

The entire deer stand caved in and fell with him and when he landed, he broke two vertebrae in his back.

But Cupit recovered and kept holding his hands out to help people.

His hands have steadied the guns of his grandsons as he helped them shoot their first deer and turkey.

Cole, 11, and Carson, 6, often trek out in the woods with their grandfather to hunt.

Cupit said he not only likes introducing them to and teaching them hunting, but it gives them a new skill and activity to do to keep them out of trouble for when they get older.

He said he likes to pass long life lessons to them, too.

“If they’re out there in the woods with me, I’m trying to teach them to be good citizens, to take care of the land and have a good time,” he said.

And if that’s not enough, Cupit also teaches hunting and boating safety.

“And I wash dishes and dust when my wife can get me in the house,” Cupit said with a smile.

He said despite his bout with cancer and the 16-foot fall, he’s got good health and he’s going to use it to help others.

“The Good Lord put us here to help one another and I get satisfaction out of knowing I’m making someone’s life easier,” he said.