By day, Daniel “DC” Cook is an employee relations representative at Forrest General Hospital. At other times, he’s a major in the U.S. Army Reserves at Camp Shelby. He’s also a husband to Alethea and father to three daughters: Leah, Londyn and Layla. But, he’s always looking out for the welfare of others.
Cook recently celebrated his 40th birthday by hosting the Hub City Sneaker Ball in the grand ballroom of the Thad Cochran Center on the University of Southern Mississippi campus.
“I’ve known for several years that I wanted to celebrate my 40th birthday in formal fashion,” said Cook, of the concept he’d heard about in places like Chicago, Atlanta and New York. “So, I decided to bring the idea to Hattiesburg, and the Hub City Sneaker Ball was born!”
The event was an opportunity for guests to give back to the community by donating pairs of new or gently-worn tennis shoes to children and youth, up to age 18.
Cook’s goal was 100 pairs of shoes. Not only did he meet his goal, but he exceeded it. To date, 460 pairs of shoes have been collected since March 28.
The shoes will be distributed through the Lamar County and Hattiesburg Public School Districts.
“I know when I was a child, I looked forward to shoes for the first day of school,” Cook said.
Cook was also able to donate $1,000 to Kuntry Kidz, a local nonprofit organization helping youth to maximize their academic achievement and personal development.
This was the first year for the event, which included red carpet arrivals, a cocktail hour, dinner, guest speaker Dr. Terri Smith, a silent auction, raffle giveaways, a photo booth and dancing.
Cook deems the event an overwhelming success and plans on hosting this annual event each May, with a new community group will be targeted each year.
Wayne Chance, director of Forrest Health Employee Relations-Human Resources, is proud to have Cook on his team.
“DC’s heart for giving back to the community is impressive,” said Chance. “He is a genuinely good person with a giving heart, and we’re proud of the work he does outside of the office to help others.”
“To me, I’ve always believed that any of my successes in life, both personally and professionally, have come from the things I’ve done for others, so it was a no-brainer to do so,” he said. “Blessing others blesses me. There’s a sneaker culture that many of my friends, family and associates enjoy, so why not donate a pair of shoes to those who may be less fortunate or have fallen on hard times during a time that’s been challenging for many of us.”
People can still donate to the cause by visiting Give Back | Hub City Sneaker Ball — hcsneakerball.com — to give digitally or to contact Cook for shoe donations.