Nikiski local named sole Kenai Peninsula Summer of Heroes honoree

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Monday, August 31, 2015 10:49pm
  • News

Marguerite Ruth Cox is the sole 2015 Summer of Heroes honoree chosen from the Kenai Peninsula. The announcement was made Sunday at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer.

The Alaska Boys & Girls program and Alaska Communications recognized the 18-year-old Nikiski resident for her extensive volunteerism, driven by an unrelenting compassion for improving the lives of humans and animals.

“I was excited. I didn’t think I would win something as big as a scholarship,” Marguerite Cox said. “I was thrilled. I was pretty much speechless.”

Marguerite Cox and five others — all from Anchorage — were chosen from a pool of 60 nominees to receive a $1,500 college scholarship.

The funds were not handed out lightly.

Director of Development and Communications Jennifer Brown said winners have made a lasting impact on their communities. Marguerite Cox was immediately noticed for her unique interests and projects she has carried out on the Kenai Peninsula.

In 2014, Marguerite Cox raised money to purchase masks that can be used on animals for 21 local fire stations.

Brown said, especially with all of the recent fire activity in the state, Marguerite Cox’s realization of community needs access to emergency pet oxygen masks is a detail that went unnoticed by many.

Nikiski Fire Chief James Baisden said the specialized kits, which were purchased from Wag’N 02 Fur Life for $75 a piece, were met with appreciation and surprise by his crew when she first offered them to the station in 2014.

“We do have them on all the medic units,” Baisden said. “We hadn’t thought about it before. We hope we don’t have to use it. It’s not something (animal response) we concentrate on, but they are there if we need it.”

In addition to her animal-related endeavors, in her free time Marguerite Cox regularly volunteers for the Extended Life Animal Sanctuary, Kenai’s Salvation Army, The Central Kenai chapter of Teens Against Tobacco Use, and the non-profit organization she founded, the Domestic Animal Protection League.

Brown said Marguerite Cox’s activities are all the more important because she appeals to her peers. Children will likely be more receptive to the dangers of smoking if they’re hearing it from someone their own age, Brown said.

Director for the Boys and Girls Niksiki site at the Nikiski Middle-High School, Rene Payment, said she nominated Marguerite Cox for her work ethic, academic achievements and her assistance in the community. She said she has known the high school junior since first grade, when Marguerite Cox first started coming to the Boys and Girls Club.

“I felt honored she (Payment) thought highly of me to think that I deserved the award,” Marguerite Cox said.

Marguerite Cox’s mother, Lindy Cox, said she was “so proud” to hear her daughter was named as an honoree. Maurgerite Cox has a tendency toward shyness, and is unlikely to talk about her own achievements in much detail, Lindy Cox said.

She believes her daughter is more active in the community than an average teen of Maurgerite Cox’s age. Lindy Cox has always taught her daughter to give back and help when she can, she said.

The finalists are also identified based on their ambitions and plans for the future, Brown said.

Marguerite Cox said she is currently planning more fundraisers to purchase animal masks for fire stations throughout Alaska. After graduating at the end of the 2015-2016 school year from Nikiski Middle-High School, she plans to attend college somewhere Outside, and pursue a degree in social work, which Brown believes is a perfect fit.

Every year the pool of nominees is growing, Brown said. The program illuminates the amount of children who are out there helping their communities “out of the kindness of their hearts,” she said.

“She’s (Cox) about as cute as a button,” said Director of Development and Communications Jennifer Brown. “We had a lot of fun with her yesterday.”

Reach Kelly Sullivan at

More in News

Emerson Kapp, second-place winner of the 2023 Caring for the Kenai competition, shows participants how to use her project, the Kenai Peninsula Maze Board, during the Kenai River Festival on Friday, June 9, 2023, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River Fair to offer education, fun for free on June 8

Kenai Watershed Forum’s annual summer event gets new name, renewed focus on education

A sign marks the entrance of Centennial Park and Campground on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Tree planting event set for Centennial Park

Planting trees in the area is a crucial method for protecting and rehabilitating the streambank, organizers say

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 dead, 3 missing after boat capsizes near Seward

Alaska State Troopers were notified by the U.S. Coast Guard of an overturned vessel around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Erosion of the Kenai bluff near the Kenai Senior Center. (Photo by Aidan Curtin courtesy Scott Curtin)
Ribbon-cutting for bluff stabilization project set for June 10

The bluff has been eroding at a rate of around 3 feet per year

A bag of freshly dug razor clams is held aloft at the Ninilchik Beach in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Saturday, July 1, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
No clamming in Ninilchik or Clam Gulch this year

Adult abundance “well below” fishery thresholds on both beaches

Poppies are affixed to wreaths during a Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hanson Memorial Park in Kenai on Monday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Remembering the sacrifices of the fallen

Speakers ask community to be inspired through sacrifice of service members

A fallen tree reaches onto Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna, Alaska, as cars drive by on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Grants, borough to support HEA effort to mitigate dangerous trees

HEA will have permission to enter borough land and the borough’s right of way

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Most Read