“After graduating from Abraham Baldwin College with wildlife and forestry degrees, I got a job with Riverview Plantation in Camilla as a quail hunting guide,” Cox explained about his start with the DNR. “I quit that job after two years to move back home to Cartersville to marry my high school sweetheart, Terri Miles. I took a job in Atlanta with a surveying company, but was laid off in a couple of months due to a bad economy and lack of work.”
As fate — and a “3[-by-]5 handwritten note card” — would have it, Cox saw an advertisement for conservation rangers. After a multitude of tests, Cox was among the finalists for openings.
“After hundreds of applications, it finally came down to 25 applicants for 15 jobs. We interviewed with five DNR captains who asked us many questions,” he said. “In January 1983, I started my ranger career in Taylor County, about two counties due east of Columbus, Ga. I worked there for six years and transferred to Allatoona Lake/Bartow County, when that position came open due to a retirement. In June 1996, I was promoted to conservation corporal and have remained so since.”
With plans to enjoy some time off after his April 30 retirement, Cox extended his gratitude to those he has served during his career.
“In ending, I want to say it has been my honor to serve the public in Bartow County all these many years,” he said. “It has been a very interesting and eventful career, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you!”
Name: Clifton “Chip” R. Cox Jr.
Occupation: Conservation corporal/game warden
City of Residence: Bartow
Education: Associate’s degree of Forest Technology, associate’s degree of Wildlife Technology
Family: Wife, Terri; son, Joshua; daughter, Megan
What is your favorite part of being a ranger?
A: I never really wanted to have a straight up desk job. I guess that’s why I’ve always been interested in a wildlife career. Being outdoors, I have the greatest office in the world.
Is there a case — good or bad — that stands out in your memory? Why?
A: I once caught the notorious trapper, Karoni Wainwright, with illegal traps after he bragged that I would never be able to catch him. I learned a lot from him, and we remained friends even after that. During the years, I have caught and written several of my friends and acquaintances for various violations. This has, at times, been awkward and uncomfortable.
What do you see as the biggest issue facing our Department of Natural Resources?
A: Ask the men in the field, and they will say pay parity, equal pay with other law enforcement agencies. Budget issues are another challenge, performing our jobs at the same level with less resources.
Where did the idea for “Chip’s Tips” originate? How long was the segment on the air and on what station?
A: I came up with “Chip’s Tips” as a way to get out maximum information to the public in one minute, as public service announcements. I needed to make it so that the public could understand and remember information. I used WBHF 1450 AM radio station because it has been a mainstay to the Cartersville/Bartow County community. I listen to it myself. Through the years, I have had many people tell me that they have enjoyed listening to “Chip Tips.”
What makes Bartow County special?
A: Being my home all my life, Bartow County [and] Cartersville has the look and atmosphere of a larger community, but the friendliness of a small-town community.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: One thing most people don’t know about me is that I have sung in choirs all my life, at one church or another. I also played the trumpet in high school and can still blow a tune when needed.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? And what bit of wisdom do you pass on?
A: The best piece of advice that I’ve ever received was from my late father-in-law, Paul Miles. Right after I asked Terri to marry me, we went into the other room to tell her mom and dad, Faye and Paul. Paul then immediately told me that “just remember that marriage is not a 50-50 proposition, like so many people think. It is a 90-10 proposition. You give 90 percent of yourself to your partner, and expect only 10 percent in return. That way, you both get 90 percent of the other.” He and Faye were married 54 years before his death in 2006 at the age of 76. I have been married to his daughter, Terri, for 31 years now. What more proof do you need?
What is your favorite meal?
A: Terri makes the best chicken nachos, using taco-spiced chicken on nacho chips with spicy, hot cheese, cooked onions and fresh corn cut right off the cob.
In the movie about your life, who would play Chip Cox? And why?
A: Well, let’s just go for it — how about Chuck Norris? He and I share similar conservative philosophies, and we’re both black belts in karate ... And I’ve always liked his movies.
What are your plans for retirement?
A: I will be retired as of May 1, 2013. I may try to get a job later on, but for now, I want to take a few months off and spend some holidays with my family, something I have not been able to do in 30 years. I plan on doing a little kayaking, camping, fishing with my brothers and finally getting around to working on my very long honey-do list.