Community Heroes: Bristol Tenn. man committed to showing appreciation to first responders


BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va. (WJHL) Each week, we introduce you to someone who makes our region a better place to live. we call them Community Heroes.

This week, we introduce you to Ernie Cox.

While many would run away from tragedy, first responders are trained to run towards it, ensuring the community they promised to protect and serve are safe.

“Some really good friends and family to just offer the first repsonders of our area. Horseshoes, corn-holes, especially paddle boats. Whatever they wanted to do. We just opened the camp up and said, ‘Here, come enjoy a day. We’ll feed you, bring your families, your children,” Ernie Cox said.

For the last five years, Ernie Cox has been committed to serving and thanking our first responders with an event called First Responders Appreciation Day.

“Anybody that has the courage to get up and put on the uniform, dealing with that level of stress day in and day out, whether it’s voluntary at 2 o’clock in the morning, they get up and they go. That inspires me. That just wants me to be a better person,” Cox said.

This event holds true to Cox’s heart because his son, is a first responder.

The event, which has grown over the years, holds more than 300 people at Camp Placid, in Sullivan County.

“You know, Ernie has really worked hard on this First Responders Appreciation Day and I got to attend it last year and it was a really good time, Good food,” Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said. “All of the preparation, the food, the games. They had the UT Football ball games set up.”

Those who cannot attend the event are not forgotten.

“Twenty-two stations it what we took to last year and delivered. To the ones who were on duty,” Cox said.

“For each individual who works in public safety has to work, they box the lunches and he took it to them. So, it’s a really nice event and just a really great way of saying thank you to all the first responders,” Sheriff Cassidy said.

Cox has served Sullivan County, Bristol and even departments in Virginia.

“If we can continue the path we’re on, I hope to have another 300 or 400 guests show up and we’ll feed them and treat them right.” Cox said.

If you know someone who makes our community a better place to live, we want to hear from you! Nominate them to be an ABC Tri-Cities Community Hero! Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to nominate them.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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