Many times firefighters enter the lives of community members through a rescues or by extinguishing fires, but an individual like Brian Cox goes out of his way to touch the lives of those in Clovis through his involvement in the city.
Cox was recognized with the Firefighter of the year award June 20 at the annual Clovis Hall of Fame Awards Gala for his countless hours volunteering and participating in fire department and communal activities.
“Brian is always the coordinator of special events,” said Fire Chief Michael Despain. “If we have an event for retirees or a public education event, he is the go to person to get that coordinated. He is always the person to step up and at the end of the day he does such a good job no one dares touch his territory.”
In 2001, Cox was also awarded the Firefighter of the year award for his efforts to improve the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), the firefighters breathing unit, and save the department costs on a major purchase of the equipment.
“He was able to help work through a process that got us and many fire departments in the Central Valley units at a much lower cost price that is typically quoted for retail,” said Despain.
The department saved over $500,000 with Cox’s help, making him the only firefighter in Clovis to receive the award twice. His involvement in the National Fire Protection Association SCBA committee has helped the industry improve the functionality and safety of SCBA equipment.
“I have personally seen how important this program is to Brian, not because of any personal recognition or compensation, but because he truly cares that our members have the best possible equipment,” stated Cox’s firefighter of the year nomination, written by one of his fellow peers.
After graduating high school Cox joined the firefighter reserve program in 1987. Since the position was only temporary, when he was given the opportunity to work fulltime in Merced he left Clovis. Once the Clovis Fire department started to hire again in 1989, Cox returned to his hometown.
“All I ever wanted to do was work for the City of Clovis—I was coming home,” Cox said. “My family worked in the community for so long that I wanted to take that over.”
Cox is now an avid volunteer in the BIRD foundation, Clovis Firefighters Association, the Clovis Firefighters Emerald Society, the Clovis Rodeo Association, and a number of other committees.
He has also been involved with the annual Pink Heals Run, where he volunteered to drive the Pink Heals fire engine.
“Whenever the Clovis Firefighters Association does an event we put out an email so the guys can see and show up and help,” said Robert Wright, Clovis Firefighter Association President. “Brian is always there ready to help and serve the community and it’s not something he is doing for compensation. He’s just doing it because he knows he has the time to do it.”
Cox remembers the first event he conducted was a basketball charity event in the early 90s.
“You kind of just fit in where you think there’s a need,” Cox explained. “The biggest thing is everybody needs to be able to give back to the community.”
There are many opportunities to give back, said Cox, all it takes is someone to start and others will become motivated to get involved too.
“I really head it up because it really gets a lot of momentum within the department to volunteer and service the community with whatever they may need,” Cox said. “You don’t do any of these fundraisers without a lot of help, you will never make it in any of your fundraising unless you have the guys behind you.”
Cox plans to retire in about a year but wants to stay active within the community by joining the Clovis Personnel Commission or even running for city council if there is ever an opening.
“It’s just a total privilege to not only be able to work for the city but also be able to provide that customer service to people,” Cox said.