An Edmond student organization is raising money for a city resident badly burned this summer.

On Aug. 20 Larry Cox, a widowed father of two, was severely burned by a backyard flashfire.

Earlier that day he had been trimming cedar trees, heaping them in a pile in his large back yard. He was about to head out for a round of golf when he eyed the pile of cedar clippings.

Cox carefully prepared the pile for burning, like he had done dozens of times previously as part of his private lawncare business.

This time, the weather conditions contributed to a powerful explosion and searing fire which consumed Cox. As a result, he suffered deep second-degree burns over much of his front legs and severe burns over most of the rest of his body.

Following a recovery period at the Paul Silverstein Integris Burn Center in Oklahoma City, Cox is making steady progress.

About two months after the accident, Cox said he is 50-60 percent back. His doctors told him it would take from six to 18 months for a full recovery, which he expects to happen.

Cox said while he still deals with pain and worries about the continuing possibility of infection, he has been back on the golf course, in the gym and mowing the occasional lawn as part of his private business.

In addition to his family and friends, churches and the HOPE Center, Cox said the prayers from complete strangers have helped him tremendously. A Christian before the accident, Cox said he believes that by the grace of God he is alive today for a reason.

There were times, he said, when he didn’t know if he would survive.

The Edmond North High School DECA organization, an association of marketing students, has been raising funds this week for Cox and his family.

At the time of the accident, Cox was self-employed and did not have medical insurance. Cox’s medical bills may well exceed $200,000, said Karen Green, North’s DECA adviser.

A single parent since his wife, Beth Ann, died in 1991, Cox has a daughter, Amanda, and a son, Brandt. They will be needing continuous financial and emotional support while their father continues to recover, Green said.

Family and friends have established a separate bank account at Kirkpatrick Bank in Edmond to help Cox and his family.

Cox said he is extremely appreciative for all of the support he has received from the community.

“I really appreciate what North High School is doing,” he said.

The North DECA group chose Cox because he had helped coach one of the members of the class in a soccer league and the student made the group aware of Cox and the accident, Green said.

Among other things, DECA seeks to give students hands-on experience in planning and implementing a civic project, Green said. The idea to help Cox started in the business management class.

The group will donate the money it raises to the Integris Paul Silverstein Burn Center Foundation in honor of Larry Cox, Green said.

During the week, North students have been buying T-shirts, food items and participating in a silent bachelor auction, during which they wrote down bids for their favorite bachelor.

Before the accident, Cox was physically active, staying in shape at his gym, through golf and by coaching in the Edmond soccer program.

Cox said his mindset, groomed in part by being physically active, helped him recover. So did his desire to be a father to his children. He said he also received top-notch care at the Integris burn center.

(Education reporter Mark Schlachtenhaufen may be reached via e-mail at ms@edmondsun.com.)

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