Family seeks help with funeral after fire takes life of Vietnam veteran

Posted at 11:55 AM, Jan 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-01 12:55:40-05

CULLOWHEE, NC (WLOS ) -- A Vietnam veteran lost his life in a fire over the weekend. His family is struggling with his loss and how to pay for his funeral costs.

They said 70-year-old George Pope served his country and his family with total commitment and that devotion deserves high honors. They'd like to see him buried with top military recognition, but they need some financial help with that.

Trinna and George Pope lived in a home in Cullowhee until Saturday night.

“Within minutes everything, everything that we had saved for 48 years was gone,” Trinna said.

Trinna wasn't home, nor was their 13-year-old granddaughter who lived with them. But George was there, the fire taking the home and his life.

Trinna and George married after his two years of Army service in Vietnam.

“That love, it's like the thing with the military. It's something that's never-ending,” Trinna said.

She said George applied military structure in life, from folding socks, to working hard.

“He got an electrical license,” she said.

She said veterans come with courage to face life's challenges.

“It's a brotherhood that's not broken.”

Trinna now faces a challenge paying for his funeral expenses. A Go Fund Me account is set up to help.

“He was such a courageous and a helpful person. I'd like to see the military give him the 21-gun salute,” Trinna said.

The Jackson County Veterans Organization raised $500.

“We just want to thank people for helping the family because they really need it,” the nonprofit’s Crystal Cochran said.

The Red Cross is also helping with housing and clothes. Jackson County Schools are assisting, too, as well as neighbors.

“Whatever would ease my pain and help me they said let me know,” Trinna said.

Assistance, just as George helped with their electrical repairs.

“I'll miss seeing him drive through all the time and talking to him,” neighbor Steve Pittman said.

Trinna will miss her husband most of all.

“I just don't know what I'll do without him,” she saids.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Along with the Go Fund Me account, there's a nonprofit helping with funeral expenses.

Make checks payable to: The Way (note in memo: Pope Family)

Mail to:

1246 Keiger Farm Road

Tobaccoville, NC 27050

Questions contact Angie Barnes 336-978-0309