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Juvenile Court recognizes service to children

By Curt Yeomans

Emotions ran high as Clayton County Juvenile Court Judge Van Banke presented a proclamation honoring Brenda Cox on Monday to her husband, Jim Cox, and her daughter, Amanda Lee.

Jim Cox fought back tears as Banke talked about Brenda Cox's years of service helping children at First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, or through the Juvenile Court system. She spent the last six years serving on the court's Citizens Review Panel.

Brenda Cox died from a brain hemorrhage on Aug. 25. She was 69.

"She just loved to know she was helping out children in need," said Jim Cox, after the awards ceremony. "I'm just happy she was being honored."

Brenda Cox was one of 23 people recognized at the Juvenile Court's Third Annual Judicial Commendations Awards Ceremony on Monday at the Historic Courthouse in Jonesboro. The ceremony is an opportunity for the court system to thank its employees and people from its partnering agencies for working with children.

At the ceremony, Banke recognized Brenda Cox with a proclamation during a segment on the Citizens Review Panel.

Due to the heavy caseload of the Juvenile Court judges, the panel helps judges review re-unification plans for families, to make sure all of the parties involved are staying on track, said Juvenile Court Judge Steve Teske. They also make recommendations to the judges on how the plans can be changed, Teske added.

According to the proclamation, every Aug. 25 will be known as Brenda Cox day in the Clayton County Juvenile Court system. It will be marked each year with a moment of silence.

"This is, in a very small way, a sign of appreciation for Brenda's years of service," said Banke.

Despite her death, Teske said he believes Cox is still working with children and taking care of them. "I think Brenda is in Heaven now and has gathered together all of the children who left this world early, and she's taking care of them," said Teske.

The other individuals recognized at the awards ceremony, included:

Law Enforcement: Sgt. Walter Randall (Forest Park Police Department); Officer Dwayne Penn and Lt. Scott Stubbs (Clayton County Police Department).

Juvenile Court/Probation: Kendra Stevens.

Citizens Review Panel: Brenda Cox and James Hagans.

Clayton County Department of Family and Childrens Services: Shannon Howard and John Goolsbee.

Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA): Becky Galbreath (staff) and Jane Glaze (volunteer).

Juvenile Court/Court Operations: Andrea Benefield.

Juvenile Court/Probation: Michael Richardson.

Clayton County Public Schools: Cora Williams.

Finding Alternatives for Safety and Treatment (FAST) Panel: Frankie Wesley and Henry Walker.

Juvenile Court/Clerk of Court: Nancy Bennett.

Clayton Center: Precious Neal.

Juvenile Court/Intake: Victoria Berry

Lawyers: Deborah Leslie and Linda Day.

District Attorney's Office: Susan Bass.

Faith-based Community: Vince Williams (New Birth South Church).

Council of Juvenile Court Judges: Judge Tracy Graham-Lawson.

Clayton County Board of Commissioners Proclamation: Graham-Lawson.

Special Recognition (from Juvenile Court judges): Graham-Lawson.