James Dale Russell was officially honored on June 6 by USDA Rural Development as Maintenance Person of the Year for his work at Autumn Ridge Supportive Living Facility, owned and operated by Family Counseling Center, Inc.
Russell was nominated by his supervisors, residents of Autumn Ridge and Johnson County community leaders for his tireless work ethic and dedication to the community and elderly residents.
He was honored locally at the Autumn Ridge Supportive Living Facility in Vienna on Monday, June 19.
Russell is a long time resident of Vienna. He has been a volunteer firefighter for the Vienna Fire Department since 2013.
Russell is retired from the Illinois Department of Corrections where he worked for over 25 years.
He is an active member of Fellowship Baptist church and plays violin with the John A. Logan Community college Orchestra.
Each year, Russell assists Family Counseling Center, Inc.’s Angel Tree program by taking around his hand-made wooden fire truck to local businesses where toys and monetary donations are made to help more than 100 children each year.
Russell began his maintenance career with Family Counseling Center, Inc. in 2014. The more than 40 senior residents at this facility call Russell family.
Russell makes the residents feel at home. He ensures that the facility is well maintained, the lawns are manicured and any issues are fixed almost immediately.
In May and June of 2016, Russell worked diligently with Ameren of Illinois on making the facility more energy efficient.
Due to Russell’s efforts, the facility was awarded $49,902 worth of CFL light bulbs, aerators for bathroom sinks, programmable thermostats and additional insulation in the attic of the facility.
The costs savings from this project is already being seen at the facility and will have a lasting impact for years to come.
Russell often participates in special activities with the residents such as walkers parades, holiday events and volunteers at family nights along with his wife, Clea, to help serve the residents and their families.
Russell writes a riddle each day in the dining room for residents to solve and helps them connect with friends and loved ones online through the Apple TV app.
Russell understands what “going above and beyond” really means as he evidences this trait each day he walks into the facility.