Letter: Many reasons to be grateful


Raymond CoxLast February, Dr. Sanjay Gupta came to visit Volunteers in Medicine prior to giving a speech for the Lowcountry Speakers Series. 

Little did any of us know the extent of the crisis we were about to face. 

Since then, Dr. Gupta and Dr. Anthony Fauci have been reliable sources on the extent of the pandemic and strategies to mitigate its disastrous consequences. 

During his speech, Dr. Gupta talked about our obsession with metrics and measurable outcomes. 

While important, he challenged the audience to remember the importance of things that can’t be measured, like gratitude. 

I’ve been turning that over in my head recently and realize that, despite all the strife that 2020 wrought, there are still many things that merit our enduring gratitude. 

I’m thankful to have grown up in a loving family with parents who instilled the importance of faith, family and education. 

I am grateful to have grown up in a safe neighborhood that was so typical it had a gauzy Rockwellian feel, even during the snowy winters. I was fortunate to have attended some of the best schools in the country. 

It was a blessing to have had some truly talented teachers and mentors. 

Having traveled abroad a bit, I am truly grateful to live in the United States of America. 

You may have noticed that my expressions of gratitude were for unearned privileges afforded by dint of birth, place and chance. 

That is no reason to feel ashamed or guilty for my good fortune. It does mean that I bear more responsibility to ensure others can improve their circumstances. 

As Peter Parker’s uncle once said, “to whom much is given, much is expected” (paean to Stan Lee). 

To that end, I have been fortunate to have had a career that exceeded my expectations to improve the lives of those I have been honored to serve. 

The joy of having assisted in delivering thousands of babies, some of whom I have watched grow and succeed, is immeasurable. 

Contributing to the education of thousands of students, residents and colleagues has been humbling. 

Of course, my greatest blessing has been the good fortune of having my soulmate by my side for the past 40 years. 

Marilyn’s empathy, pragmatism and grace have been crucial to my success and happiness. We have been pleased to watch our sons grow to be successful and well-adjusted men, despite the uncertainties that all parents experience at times. 

Lastly, I must confess that I never thought I would end my career on such an elevated note. It has been an honor and a blessing to carry Dr. Jack’s vision for Volunteers in Medicine forward. 

As I near my retirement as executive director in June, I am especially grateful to have worked with such a talented, purposeful and engaged group of volunteers, staff and board. 

You have made these past eight years of “semi-retirement” some of the best years of my life. I hope you will always remember to “have some fun, do some good.” 

Warmest personal regards.

Dr. Raymond Cox has served as Executive Director of the Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Clinic since 2013. He plans to retire on June 30, 2021.