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Cancer Society honors Maddox

When will Lionel Maddox stop giving to others? When God stops giving to him.

Maddox considers himself blessed and he wants to pass that blessing on to others. He looks for, and finds, ways to do just that.

On Wednesday, Maddox was the guest of honor at the luncheon board meeting of the Pike County Chapter of the American Cancer Society. Maddox received the board's 2003 Caregiver of the Year Award for his service to others during times of illness.

For more than six years, the 44-year-old retiree has volunteered his time to transport cancer patients to Montgomery and Dothan for treatment.

"I'm excited to get this award; it means a lot to me," Maddox said. "I want to give all the credit to the Lord. He has blessed me to be able to do this and he has given me - us - travel mercies as we go up and down the roads. The glory all goes to God."

As a youngster, Maddox was aware of what his dad did for others. The elder Maddox transported patients to and from the Veteran's Hospital in Tuskegee. He was also aware that his dad got great satisfaction from doing for others.

When he was old enough to drive, Maddox accepted some of the "blessings" and, also, transported patients to the Macon County hospital.

When he worked at Edge Regional Medical Center, his shift, the "3 to 11," left his mornings free and he continued his "transportation service" to doctors' offices and hospitals.

"I guess you might say that I inherited a legacy from my dad," Maddox said. "He used to take folks to their doctors' appointments when they had no vehicle. And, I'm doing the same thing."

Since Maddox became disabled, he has dedicated even more of his time to service to others.

Any time a cancer patient needs transportation to a treatment center, he is there for them.

Carrie Gibson, social worker at the Cancer Center in Montgomery, said Maddox is "one dedicated man with a big heart."

Gibson said when Maddox brings patients to the center, he stays with them until they are finished with their appointments and then drives them home.

Maddox always has time for the patients he transports and is dedicated to the task of helping others, she said.

Gibson often gives Maddox the names of those in Troy who may need transportation. He then contacts the people and offers his services.

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church has graciously provided a van for Maddox's use, but he often used his own car, until it recently ran its last mile

The church has concerns about the liability of transporting patients 45 minutes away up to twice a week. There is no guarantee that the church vehicle will be provided in the future.

Terry Watkins, community outreach coordinator for Edge Regional Medical Center, said she became aware of Maddox contributions to his community when Judge William Hightower asked her if there was grant money available to purchase a van for use in transporting patients to treatment center and doctors' appointments.

Watkins said the more she heard about Maddox, the more she was convinced that he was an outstanding nominee for the Pike County ACS Caregiver of the Year Award.

She nominated Maddox and he graciously and humbly accepted the award.

Many people in Troy know of Maddox's dedication to this project. Others have known his loving heart and commitment to this mission, Watkins said. "Lionel Maddox is a very deserving recipient."

Maddox said the rewards of what he does, come as blessings.

"Every trip I make is blessing," he said. "I get to know these wonderful people and be a part of their lives. Sometimes they talk their problems over with me. Sometimes we just talk, but we always go and come in prayer. Always. God has been so good to us. He protects us as we travel. We are blessed by his goodness."

Although Maddox is a big man - over 6 feet tall - he is a kind and gentle man and one who deserves the title of "Caregiver of the Year," Watkins said.