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DePue coach handling life after apartment fire

Tim Stevens had just moved in to the Longhaven Apartment Complex in Princeton and was settling down for an early evening nap on July 6. The day suddenly changed for the DePue soccer coach and all the residents of the apartment complex.

Stevens said he was suddenly awakened by a neighbor from a nearby residence who ran through the complex, who cried the one word everyone fears most, ‘Fire.” Other residents were asleep as well.

Stevens was able to gather his phone and his iPod and ran to safety.

“It was that kind of that afternoon nap time. If it wasn’t for her, it could have been dangerous,” he said. “I was in a white shirt and shorts. I grabbed my phone, my iPod and that was it.

Living on the bottom floor of the complex, he lost everything else in the fire and the water damage. He had some hang-ups with insurance for a month, but knows it could have been much worse. He knows other residents were more established in their apartments and suffered more losses than he.

“I’m still recovering. I can’t change it, you just move on,” he said. “I’m a true believer that God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle, so you just handle it.”

A native of Batavia, Stevens has found folks in Bureau County to be very friendly and helpful in time of need. Many organizations have provided the residents with financial need and clothing.

“The people are more friendly than in a suburban area. It’s a slower way of life and people seem to put things more in perspective than always being on the go.”

Stevens relocated in Princeton, where he likes living because of its stores and restaurants.

He’s a fourth-year high school history teacher and in his third year as the head soccer coach, coming to DePue after completing his masters degree at Aurora University. He likes to consider himself more of a reading and writing teacher, because “that’s what kids of this generation need most.”

Stevens has coached his Little Giants soccer team to an 8-7-1 record heading into Wednesday’s regional semifinal clash with Princeton. He said that would be a big game for the Little Giants to prove their game against an established program like Princeton.

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR sports editor. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com

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