RANTIN: Service is a way of life

May 23, 2013 

Tim Sox

— For Tim Sox, serving as a scoutmaster, donating blood, mentoring area youth, ringing Salvation Army bells and helping collect food for the needy aren’t just options but a way of life.

“I grew up in an ‘Opie Taylor’ kind of environment, with a loving and supportive family as well as a number of very positive role models through my experiences with scouting, church and music,” says the Colonial Life employee. “I feel a strong obligation to give back in the same way that all those folks did for me.”

Sox joined a growing list of distinguished community servants at his company recently when he was named Colonial Life’s 2012 Volunteer of the Year. The Frank Sumner Smith Jr. Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes a Columbia-based employee of Colonial Life or Unum who demonstrates excellence in community volunteer activity, has a positive outlook about volunteerism, is an inspiration to his or her co-workers and whose activities have had a definite effect on the quality of life in the community.

Sox, the director of enrollment systems for Colonial Life, helps coordinate the company’s volunteer projects. That includes organizing bell ringers for Salvation Army, recruiting shift volunteers for Harvest Hope Food Bank’s summer food drive and organizing a group for the United Way’s Day of Action. He also takes part in the company’s annual management volunteer projects.

But it’s the hands-on service he finds most fulfilling, be it donating blood for the Red Cross or playing taps at military funerals.

“I just give if I am capable,” he said.

Linda Bambacus, Colonial Life vice president of service operations, called Sox the epitome of a “servant leader.”

“He lives his life and fulfills his role at work in a way that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world,” Bambacus said.

Sox is in good company at Colonial Life. The company has set a standard for community volunteer service. Last year, its employees donated nearly 10,500 hours of volunteer work.

“Our core business is all about helping people, and a strong commitment to social responsibility is one of our core values,” Sox said. “The company’s advocacy of community service makes for a great work-life balance for our employees and motivates people to get involved.”

To those considering volunteering but who haven’t taken the step, Sox encourages them to “just do it.”

“Volunteering is all about action,” he said. “You have to take a step forward. Once you start and you realize the difference that small actions can make, it is easy and it makes a big difference in people’s lives, including your own. Find something that you are interested in, and I will guarantee you that there is a place that could use your energy.”

In recognition of Sox’s selection, Colonial Life donated $1,000 to his charity of choice, The Nancy K. Perry Shelter for children in Lexington.

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