Love for service motivates Midlands volunteer of year

brantin@ thestate.com (803) 771-8306September 5, 2013 

Colonial Life vice president Linda Bambacus congratuates Tim Sox on his international Volunteer of the Year honor during cermonies Wednesday at the company.

BERTRAM RANTIN — brantin@thestate.com

Tim Sox thought he was just playing back-up when he took his place in Colonial Life’s House Band for the company’s annual United Way campaign celebration.

With trumpet in hand and sporting a tie-dyed shirt to match the 60s-styled theme of this year’s celebration, Sox was just doing his part.

It’s an attitude that earned him Colonial’s Volunteer of the Year distinction earlier this year. And Wednesday, he again was tagged a headliner when the company announced he had been named its parent group’s top international volunteer.

Sox, Colonial’s director of enrollment solutions, was officially recognized as the Unum Lending Hands Volunteer of the Year during Wednesday’s celebration before his co-workers.

He was selected from 10,000 global employees at Unum, which operates five business units in the United States, including Columbia, and four in the United Kingdom.

“I’m not used to the limelight,” Sox said. “That’s not why you volunteer I just try to help wherever I can.”

That passion for service has motivated Sox as a scoutmaster, Salvation Army Bell ringer, youth mentor, food drive worker and in various other volunteer roles through the years.

At Colonial, he helps coordinate various volunteer projects, among them 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’s also a regular Red Cross blood donor and regularly uses the same trumpet he played Wednesday to perform Taps at military funerals.

“Tim is the epitome of the phrase ‘servant leader,’” said Colonial Life vice president of service operations Linda Bambacus, who nominated Sox for the award. “People use that term all the time, but they often don’t understand what it truly means. I choose those words very carefully. Through watching Tim’s action at work and in the community, I’ve seen it’s through serving that he builds followership. That’s what makes him a great leader. He looks to help others, never for recognition.”

Each of Unum’s home offices chose their volunteers of the year and then submitted those names for the overall volunteer of the year. The national selection panel included community representatives from across the country.

“I was honored with the first award for our campus (at Colonial),” Sox said, adding he had not given much thought to the national honor until his name was called Wednesday.

Unum donated $5,000 to the charity of Sox’s choice. He selected The Nancy K. Perry Shelter for children in Lexington, which he also picked to receive the $1,000 awarded by Colonial earlier this year.

“I’m a parent, and anytime I see children in dire need, it touches my heart,” he said.

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