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Troops to Teachers honors local

HONORED SERVICE: From left, Wallace Cox, along with Pearl River Central Upper Elementary Principal Darlene Hall, presents his wife, center, Martha Cox with the Teacher of the Year award from Troops to Teacher.  Photo submitted

HONORED SERVICE: From left, Mississippi Director of Troopers to Teachers Chris Carey, along with Pearl River Central Upper Elementary Principal Darlene Hall, center, Martha Cox with the Teacher of the Year award from Troops to Teacher.
Photo submitted

Martha Cox, a Pearl River Central Upper Elementary teacher was awarded Teacher of the Year for 2014 by Troops to Teachers on Wednesday.

Troops to Teachers is a program that was established in 1994 by the United States Department of Defense that provides counseling and other services to retired service men and women who want to become teachers.

Cox was active in the United States Army Reserves for 23 years before retiring and returning to school to become an elementary school teacher. Cox said she has been teaching for more than 12 years and was surprised to be presented with the award.

“I don’t do the job for that purpose. I do the job because I want to do it and if I didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t be here,” Cox said.

Cox said she was an air defense officer for the Army Reserves and trained troops during her time in service.

Before coming to Pearl River Central Upper Elementary, Cox taught for two years in Texas. When her husband retired, he asked her where she wanted to live and she decided to return where her daughter started school, Pearl River County.

“I just wanted to go back to where I was familiar,” Cox said.

When her daughter was in school at the Pearl River County School District, Cox was an active parent and even served as a room mom.

Cox said she chose to teach after retiring because it was something she had always wanted to pursue.

“I’ve taught adults and young adults, but I’ve always wanted to come back and teach children because it’s magnificent to see their growth and their knowledge,” Cox said.

Teaching, Cox said, is “not a chore” for her, but instead is something she truly enjoys doing.

“They look up to you,” Cox said. “They want to know and sometimes school is the only safe haven these children have. They have nothing else. So they have to come to an environment that accepts them just as they are.”

“Mrs. Cox truly deserves to be honored as teacher of the year. She’s passionate about the art of teaching and has high expectations for herself and her students. Were very proud she is a member of our staff,” said Pearl River Central Upper Elementary Principal Darlene Hall.