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02/22/2012

ICE, North Dakota federal law enforcement agencies award special-needs man with honorary 'Special Agent' title

ICE, North Dakota federal law enforcement agencies award special-needs man with honorary 'Special Agent' title
ICE, North Dakota federal law enforcement agencies award special-needs man with honorary 'Special Agent' title

MINOT, N.D. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Air Force's Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) Detachment 228 awarded a rare honor to a local special-needs man on Wednesday.

Marcus Cox, 22, the son of Colleen and Bill Cox of Minot, was awarded the honorary title of "Special Agent" for his commitment and dedication to the ideals supported by law enforcement and emergency service professionals.

"Like every HSI special agent, Marcus is a team player who eagerly, heroically, looks out for others while doing everything in his power to be the best he can be, to do the best he can do," said Special Agent in Charge Michael Feinberg, HSI Bloomington. "Marcus' actions in times of hardship demonstrate unassailable strength of character, integrity, commitment and resilience, the sense of family I see so pointedly here today – those very traits that are the hallmarks of HSI special agents."

"When this amazing opportunity presented itself, there were no questions as to the detachment's level of participation," said Special Agent Matthew Alter, Commander of AFOSI Detachment 228 at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. "Marcus' life and achievements are amazing and we should all emulate his dedication, drive and unconditional desire to serve and protect. He is the example and we will benefit the most from working with Marcus … not the other way around."

In Bismarck, U.S. Attorney for North Dakota Timothy Purdon said, "We welcome Honorary Special Agent Marcus Cox to the federal law enforcement family in North Dakota. Marcus symbolizes what it is to be a federal special agent: commitment to the United States and the desire to help make his community a better place. We are all inspired by his example and congratulate him on achieving this rare honor."

On rare and in very special circumstances, law enforcement professionals sometimes honor civilians who have contributed to the safety and security of our communities and our nation because they are seen as heroes. In this instance, a special-needs man is doing everything he can to support our respective law enforcement missions.

HSI and AFOSI recognize the importance of giving back to our communities and to those who offer this kind of support and his heroic example. When the special agents in Minot first heard Marcus' inspiring story, they decided to work jointly to honor this special young man and recognize his ongoing support.

Marcus was born with both physical and mental disabilities which presented severe challenges to the family. Despite these significant challenges, Marcus graduated from high school last year and continued to volunteer his time with the local fire department.

While a career serving in emergency services or law enforcement may be beyond his capabilities, this has not daunted his spirit as he continues to support his community in other ways.

In recognition of Marcus' achievements thus far and for his commitment to the ideals supported by professionals in his community, the U.S. government presented him with the title Honorary Special Agent.

HSI is ICE's criminal investigative division, the largest investigative agency in the Department of Homeland Security, charged with enforcing the nation's immigration and customs laws.

AFOSI has been the Air Force's major investigative service since Aug.1, 1948. The agency reports to the Inspector General, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. AFOSI provides professional investigative service to commanders of all Air Force activities. Its primary responsibilities are criminal investigations and counterintelligence services.