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Reg Cox, AKA The Connector

Reg Cox, AKA The Connector
Posted on 05/08/2019
Reg Cox, City Connector at Lakewood Connects (far left), reflects during a meeting at the Jeffco Public Schools Ed Center in Golden.Reg Cox was doing what he does best at Emory Elementary in Lakewood: connecting. It even says it on his resume, “City Connector at Lakewood Connects.”

“I build bridges between different parts of the community that sometimes don't work together very smoothly,” Cox explained. “I have a conviction that collaboration is critical for community health.”

This meeting, one of the dozens of community interactions he leads or takes part in during a typical year, was to figure out how best to keep an emergency supply of food fresh for Emory students and families in need.

“There’s an amazing spirit in Jefferson County and in Lakewood, where folks are wanting to help,” said Cox. “They realize there are families, there are children with food needs, and it's not as easy as you'd think to partner those helpers with the different organizations and then with the schools."

That's what Cox has done, and continues to do.

“I think a quality that Reg possesses is a unique ability to interact with so many different non-profits, governmental agencies, school districts,” said Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul. “It can even be challenging for governmental agencies to be able and connect and work together. Reg has this unique ability to get in there and bring those different groups together.”

"People gravitate to his soul. He has a warmth," added Denise Delgado, Executive Director of the Jeffco Schools Foundation. People feel very comfortable around him, and they can get vulnerable around him.

Cox has partnered with Jeffco Public Schools on an impressive number of projects, including one designed to get more people involved in Jeffco’s Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, which helps guide decisions on student and family supports and services. He was at the forefront of a community effort to revitalize the outdoor play space at Foothills Elementary, turning it into a Field of Dreams. He was also one of the guiding voices in the re-birth of Rose Stein International Elementary.

“He was very much invested in the design, making sure that kids and community had everything we needed from startup,” said Rose Stein International Elementary Principal Esther Valdez. “His connections go deep and further. He’s all about making those first introductions and then blending into the background and letting the people do the work.”

“We need more books on the bookshelves, we need more equipment in the gym, we need X, we need Y, we need Z. And then [Reg] goes into the Rolodex in his head, and says, ‘Who do I know?' "explained Delgado. "He just does that, and if he doesn’t know the person, he’ll go out and find them for you.”

That's part of what makes Cox so unique.

"Reg Cox is an incredible asset to Jeffco and the whole state,” said Dr. Jason Glass, Superintendent of Jeffco Public Schools. “He's a person that brings people with different viewpoints together, and all focused on how can we be a better community for our kids and our families."

"Sometimes I worry that he's going to quit taking my phone calls because whenever I call he knows I might be asking for something and he has never, ever said, ‘no,' "added Paul.

To understand what drives this community connector, you have to understand what else is on Cox’s resume. He’s a pastor and the Director of the Lakewood Faith Coalition.

“As a Christian, the commandment of Jesus is to love your neighbor as yourself. In my world, in my mind, this is what faith should look like,” explained Cox. “Whether it's coming from any faith you want to discuss, compassion for human need is at the root of what moves true faith."

"Reg feels deep to his bones that his work is the right thing to do. There are no questions,” said Delgado. “There is no doubt, and his faith guides him in what he does. The path that he is on is the right path. That's very much Reg."

Cox says it’s the faith community's responsibility to be the impetus, the nucleus of that atom to build that connection system in a healthy community, whether it’s a city, a neighborhood or the entire county.

“Reg, you have made an impact on me personally, on the lives of so many hundreds of children and families,” said Valdez. “We will be forever in your debt because you have chosen to love and you have chosen to model that love unconditionally."

“Reg, I just want you to know that you and your family are a tremendous blessing to the Lakewood community, to Jefferson County, and to Colorado as a whole," said Paul. “You lead with great kindness, wisdom, dignity.”

See the JPS-TV version of this story here or below.

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