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Country Santa continues to help less fortunate during the holiday season

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — With Christmas Day just around the corner, Pumpkintown’s Buddy Cox is pretty much exhausted.

Still, he knows several days of work remain to be done.

Ben Robinson/Courier Country Santa organizer Buddy Cox works at his Pumpkintown home on Saturday. Cox has been helping the less fortunate in the Upstate through Country Santa for more than 30 years.

Ben Robinson/Courier
Country Santa organizer Buddy Cox works at his Pumpkintown home on Saturday. Cox has been helping the less fortunate in the Upstate through Country Santa for more than 30 years.

Each year, Cox becomes Country Santa, providing Christmas presents for children who would likely have to do without if not for his efforts.

He began his mission decades ago. Cox grew up in a poor home, and the family had to depend on the kindness of a neighborhood church for Christmas presents each year. He never forgot the joy he felt receiving presents from the church members each year.

“We didn’t receive much, but it was all we had,” he said. “As I got older and figured out how my mother could somehow magically come up with presents despite our family not having anything, I realized that those people actually cared for me. Of course we received help throughout the year — food and such — but I began to see how tragic it would be for a child to wake up Christmas morning and have nothing under the tree.

“It’s not so much the cost of the gift as the love that goes into getting it.”

So Cox grew up and began his own business. And he started buying Christmas presents for families who live near him who would not be able to buy gifts for their kids. Before long, some neighbors heard about his efforts and wanted to contribute.

And Cox’s effort grew. And kept growing.

Before long, Country Santa’s list had grown from eight families to hundreds across the Upstate and beyond.

12-16 Page 1B.indd“I just can’t sleep at night knowing that some kid may wake up Christmas morning and find nothing under the tree,” Cox said. “And it’s not always their parents’ fault. Times are tough, and people may have to choose between buying their child a Christmas present and paying for their electricity.”

Cox gives Upstate parents another option.

“We’re just basically filling in where the local church used to,” Cox said. “Some of our churches are struggling, too.”

And people seem to appreciate his efforts.

“I can’t count the times that we’ve had a parent show up here (at Cox’s Pumpkintown home) and say, ‘You helped me last year, so now I want to help others through you.’” Cox said. “Some of our most dedicated elves are either folks we have helped or kin to somebody we have helped.”

Elves begin to show up Thanksgiving Day to help sort and pack the toys, Cox said.

“School groups, church groups, civic groups and scout groups all come up and help us pack toys,” he said. “To tell the truth, we would be lost without our volunteers.”

Toys are left at drop points scattered across the Upstate.

“Folks are very generous, because they know where our gifts are going,” Cox said. “They’re not going to find these gifts in a dumpster somewhere or for sale at the jockey lot.”

Ben Robinson/Courier As toys line the shelves, volunteers — also known as elves — help at Country Santa’s workshop in Pumpkintown on Saturday. “To tell the truth, we would be lost without our volunteers,” organizer Buddy Cox said.

Ben Robinson/Courier
As toys line the shelves, volunteers — also known as elves — help at Country Santa’s workshop in Pumpkintown on Saturday. “To tell the truth, we would be lost without our volunteers,” organizer Buddy Cox said.

His volunteers include State Rep. Davey Hiott, who visited Country Santa on Sunday.

“When he gets up here, Davey is just one big kid,” Cox said. “But he comes with a Sunday school class he apparently teaches. What better place to show kids the true meaning of Christmas?”

This year, Cox’s donations are going well.

“We never seem to have too much,” Cox said. “We always want enough to start on next year. Right now, we could use gifts for older kids. People want to buy the stuffed animals for the little kids, but if we run out of anything, it’s usually stuff for the older kids.”

Cox said the gifts he has now for teenagers won’t last long.

After more than 30 years as Country Santa, Cox is philosophical.

“Overall I feel really blessed,” Cox said. “Blessed to be able to help so many people, blessed by the many people this has put in my life, blessed that we are still able to do this after so many years. I dream of the day when Country Santa will no longer be necessary. But the need is still out there, and Country Santa seems to keep ministering both to those who give and those who receive.”

Each bag of toys carries the message, “Merry Christmas from Jesus and Country Santa.”


Steamboat to appear at Country Santa benefit

PICKENS — For the second year in a row, a WWE Hall of Famer will be on hand to help children in need this Christmas as 3Count Pro Wrestling hosts its annual Country Santa Clash on Dec. 5.



The event, the third to benefit Country Santa in as many years for the promotion, is planned at Pickens Middle School[cointent_lockedcontent]

and will feature a special appearance by WWE Hall of Famer Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.

One of Steamboat’s greatest rivals, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, appeared at last year’s event.

Tickets for the event are available for as little as $4 with the donation of an unopened toy for Country Santa.

A limited number of exclusive VIP tickets, which include VIP seating, parking, an autograph and photo, are available. To reserve a VIP package, call (864) 346-3908.

The event will feature an action-packed lineup, with former TNA star Gunner set to take on Ring of Honor star Cedric Alexander, “Loaded Gunz” Ken Magnum battling former WCW performer Lodi for the 3County Heavyweight Championship, Ace Armstrong taking on “The Scottish Prince” Joshua O’Glesby, backed by The Highland Embassy, in a ladder match and much more.

Donations of unopened toys will be collected to benefit Country Santa, and doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Bell time is set for 7:30 p.m., and the card is subject to change.


Country Santa delivers despite rain

Despite rainy weather, Country Santa Buddy Cox and his team of volunteers delivered gifts for more than 3,200 children on Christmas Eve last week.

Despite rainy weather, Country Santa Buddy Cox and his team of volunteers delivered gifts for more than 3,200 children on Christmas Eve last week.

PICKENS — Nelle Cox knew she and her husband faced a challenge as volunteers delivered gifts this year for Country Santa.

The weather was rainy Dec. 23 as volunteers went to Country Santa’s headquarters in Pumpkintown and was worse on Christmas Eve as hundreds of volunteers showed up to pick up the gifts for delivery.

Many who normally volunteer for Country Santa were unable to this year due to a bad round of

Helping Country Santa

The environmental department at Baptist Easley Hospital donated two boxes of toys to the Country Santa program in Pickens. Each year, the housekeeper staff chooses a project to fund for the Christmas holiday. This year, they chose Country Santa. “The whole staff was proud to help the children of Pickens County during the holiday,” said department manager Harriet Lugo, right.


Country Santa gearing up for Christmas

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter

PUMPKINTOWN — Things are busy at the Pumpkintown home of Buddy Cox. Volunteers report there daily to bag toys for the thousands of children who have Christmas joy delivered to them Christmas Eve.

“We have members of the Dacusville Lions Club here now,” Cox said earlier this week. “We’ve got kids from Easley High School coming later tonight. It’s amazing how many good people we have who are willing to work to make sure some child they don’t know has a good Christmas.”

Collecting toys for giving has become a way of life for Cox, who is an engineer in Pickens. When

‘Nature Boy’ to appear at benefit for Country Santa

PICKENS — Hide your wives and daughters. “The Nature Boy” is coming to Pickens.

WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, the larger-than-life self-proclaimed “limousine-riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing, wheeling-dealing son of a gun,” will be on hand this Saturday as 3 Count Pro Wrestling will present Country Santa Clash II at Pickens Middle School.

The event is scheduled to help collect toys for Country Santa to deliver to underprivileged children on Christmas.

Flair, a 16-time world heavyweight champion widely hailed as one of the greatest professional

Country Santa helps to make Christmas special

COUNTY — As folks prepare for massive sales and incredible deals during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Country Santa Program hopes the true spirit of Christmas — the spirit of giving to those less fortunate — will bring in a bounty of donations for the thousands of families they will help this year.

Buddy Cox, Pickens’ very own Country Santa, and his elaborate network of elves has been delivering toys and Christmas miracles to families in Pickens, Northern Anderson and Oconee Counties since 1978.

Had it not been for Country Santa, approximately 1,300 families, which Cox says translates into roughly 3,300 kids, would not have had any presents to open last Christmas morning.

Deputies serve as secret santas

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

COUNTY — Pickens County sheriff’s deputies took on a new role in the leadup to Christmas last week — secret Santas.

Sheriff Rick Clark said a man contacted him about giving to the community at Christmastime.

“He wanted to give 50 $100 bills to people across Pickens County who were in need,” Clark said.

The donor wished to remain anonymous.

He set only two criteria for the $5,000 donation: That the money be given to those in need and that recipients be told a Bible verse — Isiah 40:31.

The verse reads, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

“For people to think about as they move ahead in their lives,” Clark said.

Deputies distributed the money over a few days, Clark said Friday morning.

“It’s helping people who maybe weren’t gonna have a Christmas,” he said. “It’s helping some people pay power bills.”

The donor saw the project as a chance to highlight the work of law enforcement, Clark said.

“He saw the good things we do across Pickens County and that law enforcement does across the country,” he said. “He supported law enforcement and wanted to help people at the same time. It was the perfect scenario.

“He knew that we would know which families really needed something just by our day-to-day activity in the community.”

Clark was with deputies distributing the money Thursday.

“There were tears and happiness and joy and everything else,” Clark said.

His deputies have enjoyed playing Santa.

“They’ve been excited about it,” he said. “All my officers really care about what they’re doing. They’re just like everybody else — it makes them feel really good to help others. It’s been a good thing.”


Courier Obits 4-12-17

Robert G. “Bob” Mann

Easley — Robert “Bob” G. Mann, Jr of Easley, 61, passed away on April 8, 2017.

Bob was the son of Helen Still Bates (Bill) of Marietta, GA and Dr. Robert G. Mann, Sr (Judy) of Easley.

He loved helping on the family farm, family gatherings, chess and auto

Police group gives thousands to community organizations

Rocky Nimmons/Courier
Pictured, front row, from left: Sandy Hamilton — Country Santa; Regina Peppers — ADOPT; Ashla Shingler — Hospice of the Upstate; and Greta Young — the Parenting Place. Back row: Pickens County sheriff Rick Clark; Butch Womack — Pinnacle Mountain Fire; Dave Davenport — Reserve Officers of the Upstate; R.A. Gibson — Shriners Hospital for Children; Brad Holland — Miracle Hill Children’s Home; and Foothills Lodge No. 9 Fraternal Order of Police president-elect J.B. Kelley.

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