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Guest speaker tells graduates they can overcome adversity

June 13, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The guest speaker for the Greencastle-Antrim commencement ceremonies last Friday night was old enough to be a parent to many of the new graduates.

It was fitting, of course, because the life experience Wendy Beaver Coy passed on had a certain touch of motherly wisdom.

Coy, a member of the Greencastle-Antrim Class of 1990, delivered a speech called "Overcoming Adversities" to the Class of 2008 at Kaley Field. The title was perfect for the words that followed.

"Adversity happens in your life," she said. "It is how you handle these adversities that make you who you are."

Misfortune hit Coy hard during childhood after her parents divorced as a child and her father moved away, pushing her mother into the work force unexpectedly.

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Things got worse before they got better because at 9 years old, she found out she was adopted.

"What did I do wrong?" she asked herself. "For years, I felt like I didn't belong."

At 15, her brother died in a drunken driving accident. She lost the person closest to her.

"All I wanted to do at that moment was die and be with him," she said. "No one knew how to help me."

Soon after graduating from Greencastle-Antrim, Coy became a single parent and admitted to a period where she could afford to eat only a can of tuna per day.

Adding to the misery, her son at 5 years old needed kidney and bladder surgery.

Two years later, Coy herself became dangerously ill and needed countless life-threatening surgeries.

"It made me realize to be thankful for today because you never know what tomorrow will bring," she said.

Coy somehow pulled through all health problems and appeared to have her life back on track when she returned to work and began answering phones at a local car dealership.

Still, Coy wanted more. And she found the will to achieve it - much in the same way she dealt with all the adversity in her life.

She married and became the first female service worker on the East Coast for Hoffman Automotive before once again suffering through health problems within the family.

She somehow landed on her feet once again and she remained driven - some called her hardheaded - and eventually was promoted to controller of the dealership, the position she currently holds.

"I had overcome a male-dominated business," Coy said. "It is by God's grace that I am a victor and not a victim."

Much more, she is a survivor - a trait she hopes the Class of 2008 has.

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