PICKENS — A large crowd
gathered on Tuesday morning in front of the Pickens office of Buddy
Cox to honor the man known throughout the Upstate as “Country
Unbeknownst to Cox, the
group was there to thank the humble Pumpkintown resident for the
many years of work he has done in bringing smiles to children in the
area during Christmastime and to see him receive South Carolina’s
highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto.
State House Rep. Davey Hiott
and Sen. Rex Rice presented Cox with the distinguished award. Hiott
told the crowd that local resident Ronnie Lackey had approached him
last January asking him to seek the award for Cox because of his
years of charitable work.
“I know you don’t like
anybody to recognize you. You have told me that many, many times,
but today we are going to recognize you,” Hiott told a surprised Cox
as he stepped out of his office to see the large gathering on the
“Ronnie approached Sen. Rice
and I and said ‘I have never met Buddy, but I have admired him and
appreciate all that he has done, and I think he need to honored by
the state of South Carolina,” Hiott told the crowd.
Hiott credited Cox’s wife,
Nell, for providing them with the information needed to submit to
Gov. Henry McMaster, who very quickly said yes to granting the Order
of the Palmetto for Cox.
“This award is the highest
award the state can give for community service, and you certainly
deserve it,” Lackey told Cox during the presentation. “How many
lives have you affected and changed that has made those little
children become better citizens as they grew up? I pray that God
will give you good health so you can continue to do this work.”
“People around this
community may not know you, but anyone that has been around here any
time at all knows who you are,” Rice added. “You, Buddy Cox, are
what is right in America today. I just want to say thank you for
what you do, and keep on keeping on.”
As Hiott handed the award
off to Cox, he concluded with “On behalf of the state of South
Carolina, we are proud of you and we thank you. We know you’ve got
many years ahead of you, but right now, we want to say thank you for
a job well done.
As always, Cox was quick to
deflect the credit for the success of the Country Santa program,
which has been in operation for more than 40 years.
“We have so many in the area
that donate to Country Santa,” he said. “It’s really the people that
make it happen. So many believe in us and do the hard work and
all-nighters. Everybody gets a part of this.”
By Rocky Nimmons - Publisher (firstname.lastname@example.org)