Sean Kirst: At Seneca One tower, new color is reminder of ‘hardest working guy


“Babe?” Smith called out, not yet really worried. It was only when she approached that she began to grasp what happened.

Jamie Lee Smith and Tim Cox.

Jamie Lee Smith and Tim Cox.

He had fallen and suffered a catastrophic head injury. A guy whose passion for safety is legendary among his colleagues, a guy Smith said was accustomed to working at high places on prominent landmarks, was in life-threatening danger because of a fall from a one-level garage.

She thanks God, looking back on how Cox was struggling to breathe, that she did not arrive a few minutes later. Logan was next door, playing with friends. Smith had to lock Leland, their typically jovial German shepherd, in the house as she called 911, because the distraught dog – so close with Cox – sensed something was terribly wrong. Three months and multiple surgeries later, Cox is out of intensive care but remains hospitalized, in satisfactory condition, at Strong Memorial Hospital.

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Two weeks after Tim Cox fell from his garage, he reached out to hold hands with Jamie Smith.

Each bit of progress is monumental, Smith said. It took about two weeks before Cox reached out for her hand, and it was another two weeks before he spoke. After living for months with a tracheotomy, he is breathing on his own. This week, she saw movement in his left foot for the first time. 

“He’s come far,” said Smith, pleased that Cox can now recognize and speak with old friends.

Her most powerful reaction is overwhelming gratitude. She has temporarily left her job as a chemical dependency counselor to be with Cox throughout the day. She is thankful for the tireless support of his relatives, for all the  people who donated to a GoFundMe account that benefits the family and for the ongoing concern from a legion of women and men who worked with Cox over the years.

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