Clarence Cox likes to say that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day of service, not a day off.
He spent the holiday delivering food to those in need. Several times a year, he and his wife, Wendy, put their logistics skills to work distributing food and clothing to those in need in Atlanta and the rural areas outside the city.
“We just kind of partner with a couple of different churches and civic organizations to do the outreach,” said Cox, owner of Georgia Coach Lines in Fayetteville, Georgia.
Before taking over the family-owned operation in 2017 from his father and uncle, Cox had a distinguished career in law enforcement. He served as president for the National Organization for Black Law Enforcement Officers (NOBLE) from 2017-18.
He realized the need for assistance during his decades doing police work, especially in drug enforcement, when he saw people turn to crime to support themselves. Now, as a motorcoach operator, he is using his buses to deliver food and clothing to those in need, especially those who live in Georgia’s rural areas.
“I’ve been doing it ever since the big floods in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which were probably about 10 years ago,” Cox said.
He usually volunteers around key holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
“I would say about every other month we’re doing something somewhere,” Cox said. “I call it my little ministry. It’s my way of giving back to the community and helping those who are less fortunate.”
Helping others helps him
He works with organizations like No Bare Soles to deliver athletic shoes to kids, or baby clothes collected from retailers going out of business to mothers with young children.
At the beginning of the pandemic, he helped distribute N95 masks to senior citizens.
Oftentimes, he uses his buses.
Cox believes his commitment to helping others helped his business keep its doors open in 2020, when he watched business drop to less than 10 trips, compared to the typical 250.
“I believe the Lord has blessed us,” he said.