Albany man is Donor of the Year - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany man is Donor of the Year

November 17, 2002

Albany- Reverend Bennie Russell always reads his favorite Bible scripture -- Psalms 23. This 83 year old not only spends his time reading the Bible, but also models his life after it.

"My wife said, before she died, she said we're gonna die poor because you gonna give everything away," he remembers.

In 1944 he gave his service to the country. "I had no choice. Remember Pearl Harbor was in 41, and you had no choice. If you could walk or they could drag you, any way they could get you, you were going," laughs Russell.

Now he spends time and money on other veteran's who weren't as fortunate as he. For his generosity to the Veteran's Administration, he has been honored as "Donor of the Year."

"Help those who cannot help themselves. If I have a few dollars, well they don't be extra because you need them, but you know, you spare them. That's the way it was with me; I've always been that way," he says.

But Russell says awards aren't important to him, giving is, and the only thing he takes are pictures. He has an entire room with snapshots lining the walls -- pictures of family and friends.

The eighty-three year old never misses a chance to add to his wall of memories; he even took a picture of us visiting with him.

His photos help him remember events and people throughout his life, but he hopes others remember how he chose to live it.

"Do on to others, as you would have them do on to you. That's the whole thing in a nutshell," says Russell.

Reverend Russell is the Senior Associate Minister at Greater Unity Missionary Baptist Church. He says he hopes to live longer than his father, who died at the age of one hundred and six.

Posted at 4:30 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com