John F. Cox
The Yankee Clipper Council of the Boy Scouts of America have selected John F. Cox, the former state representative and Lowell city manager, to receive its annual “Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award.”
Cox will receive the award during a Sept. 27 banquet at Lenzi’s, in Dracut.
In selecting Cox, the council which encompasses northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, kept with tradition in recognizing a high-profile, popular personality who can fill a room.
Last year, the honoree was Michael Lenzi, the businessman who owns Lenzi’s who is also on the Greater Lowell Technical High School Committee. In 2010, the award went to Kevin Coughlin, a Saints Medical Center vice president.
Coincidentally, all three men are close and recommended each other for the award, said Ruth Crocker, the council’s fundraising specialist.
Each year, the council solicits nominations with the first solicitation coming from the previous year’s recipient, so it was Lenzi who put Cox in the running. The candidate is then vetted by council members to ensure he or she is up to snuff.
According to Crocker, Cox more than exemplifies the attributes Boy Scouts instill in young men.
“We can think of no one else in Lowell who more reflects the values of the Boy Scouts in making kids good citizens who strive to participate in their community through hard work, dedication and integrity.
“It’s all about service to a cause greater than one’s self,” Crocker added. “That’s John Cox.”
Crocker said the event normally raises about $35,000 for the council. “It is our crown jewell of special events,” she said.
No word on whether Cox, a practicing lawyer, was ever a Boy Scout. But as Crocker noted, being a Boy Scout is not a prerequisite.
For the record, recipients prior to Coughlin were, in order, Lowell lawyer George Eliades, Jr.; Middlesex Community College President Carole Cowan; Lowell businessman James F. Conway III; Trinity Ambulance CEO John Chemaly; then-City Councilor Alan Kazanjian; the principals of Mill City Management, Leo Creegan, Terry McCarthy and Thomas McKay; Lowell Five Chairman Robert Caruso.
Likely the funniest moment occurred at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in 2006, when Chemaly marched in to receive his ward dressed in full Boy Scout garb, including a hat, red bandana, shorts and even green knee-socks. True Kodak moment!