Rev. Sam Cox Honored For Decades Of Service
By PAIGE TAKEYA
Two months ago, a dozen inmates from the Women’s Community Correctional Center gathered at Beacon of Hope House in Kailua to sing Christmas carols.
For Rev. Samuel Eugene Cox, it might’ve been the highlight of his holiday. “Some of the ladies — it was the first time they’ve been out of prison, out of the walls, for 12 years,” recalled Cox. “It was very moving to have that encounter, and maybe to give some of them hope that they too can change their lives around.”
Giving hope to others is nothing new for Cox, who was honored last month with the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Peacemaker of the Year Award for his decades of service to the community.
But Cox shrugs off the praise. “I think it was mostly I was proud of my friends because something like this, you never do it by yourself. Looking back, it was kind of nostalgic but also reaffirming, because I think the work for social justice goes on, especially with the young people.”
And the 80-year-old Cox remains very much a part of that progress. Last year, he helped establish Beacon of Hope House, a transitional home for women released from WCCC. He’s happy to report that the institution is thriving.
“We’re full, and we may go for a conditional use permit to get a little bigger.” More homes are a possibility, especially with churches helping out, he noted. “It’s very logical to get all the churches involved, and it’s a great community to have them enter, especially if we’re doing good for others.”
The main goal, he said, is to enable its clients to “learn to give back to others.” All of their “Beacon of Hope ladies” are being trained to volunteer in different ways. “They’re coming out of prison,” Cox explained, “so one of the best things that can happen is helping others help others — that’s the miracle of healing, and that’s been true in all of the projects I’ve been involved in.”
Cox was executive director of Moiliili Community Center and also Hale Kipa. He currently lives at Pohai Nani, is on the Kokua Council for Senior Citizens and is visitation pastor at Kailua United Methodist Church.
“I’m one who believes that the world is very much getting better,” he said. But some areas need more attention. Homelessness and the problems of women prisoners, for example. “We need to break that cycle. I think if we truly become a loving community then we can change that.”