FOXBORO (CBS) – Don Cox and his wife, Lindsay, loaded up their truck Tuesday morning for a road trip to Cleveland, Ohio. Next stop: the NFL Draft.

“It’s a bucket list moment,” Cox told WBZ-TV.

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Cox was tapped to read the Patriots first round selection Thursday night. He was notified by a phone call from Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

“Mr. Kraft called me and asked me if I’d like to announce the first pick,” Cox said. “I told him I was speechless. So, for once in my life I had nothing to say.”

Don Cox loads up his truck to head to Cleveland for the NFL Draft. (WBZ-TV)

Cox’s path to the Draft started in the parking lot outside Gillette Stadium. That’s where the Marine veteran has been tackling food insecurity among veterans and military families during the COVID-19 pandemic as president of USA Veterans and Military Support Foundation.

“We’ve been here 58 weeks, and it’s been non-stop,” Cox said. “Two or three in the morning until 7-8 at night. Seven days a week. And this is the first break we’ve really taken.”

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According to Cox, the foundation’s program “Food 4 Vets” has provided over 22 million meals made up of 47 million pounds of food to families across 10 states in the last year.

Food 4 Vets donations at Gillette Stadium. (WBZ-TV)

The foundation used the parking lot at Patriot Place to distribute those meals, and a warehouse borrowed from the Krafts to call their headquarters.

“The thing that was most evident in this pandemic was the safety nets we thought were in place weren’t in place,” Cox said.

Cox sees his upcoming trip to the NFL Draft podium as a special platform to raise awareness about food security concerns that he expects will exist beyond the pandemic.

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“It will continue on,” Cox said. “There’s always going to be a need for food security with our veterans and our military families. We’re hoping to make this a more robust program going forward to be able to help them across the state.”

Nick Giovanni