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Joplin family's tragedy turns into push for more safety at park - KOAM TV 7

Joplin family's tragedy turns into push for more safety at park

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Joplin, MO -

Near Ewert Park, a happy spot for many, is a place of sadness for Leonard Miller.

"It's tough to breathe standing here, it really is," says Miller.

It's the first time Miller is where his cousin, 50-year-old Anthony Cox, drowned about three weeks ago.  Heavy rains turned a creek into something bigger, deeper, and more dangerous.

Cox's son and soon-to-be stepson, both 10 years old, went into the creek to try and get back some personal belongings that fell in.  But they were struggling against a strong current, and Cox went in after them.

"He had COPD, and so he was fighting that.  And I know with the breathe...but I also know that, he didn't think twice about doing it," says Miller.

Cox drowned saving the children's lives.  Miller says the children have been told their dad is a hero.

Miller believes Cox's sacrifice should continue saving others.

"I would absolutely strive to get some kind of protection up here, barrier, for the kids," says Miller.

Several city council members, including Bill Scearce, agree on installing some sort of barrier along the creek, at least near Ewert Park.  A recently added skate park has attracted more visitors.

"The increase of use of the park would justify some sort of barrier," says Councilman Bill Scearce.

The barrier would help during the occasional times the creek floods.  But Miller points out, preventing the occasional accident still matters.

"He was my hero anyway.  Now, he's for sure everybody's hero that knows about Anthony," says Miller.

City officials have instructed staff to look into ways of installing barriers along the creek.

Miller says the two children who were saved are doing well, but miss their dad, of course.  Family members plan on never letting the children forget what type of person their dad was.

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