11/02/07 — A role model: Eddie Russell is the speaker Wayne County schools need

View Archive

A role model: Eddie Russell is the speaker Wayne County schools need

He doesn’t think of himself as a hero just because he goes to work every day, refusing to take too many days off or worker’s compensation when he was injured and could rightfully have done so.

In fact, Eddie Russell thinks he is just an ordinary guy doing a job that he loves for an employer who is like family.

What makes him special — even if he doesn’t think so — is that he does his job with one leg.

After an industrial accident, Russell was back to work in four days — refusing more time off or the offer of a worker’s compensation check. He demanded it be sent back.

Why? Simple. Russell loves his job and the people he works with and has a work ethic to be envied. And he knows that there is honor in a job well-done.

His story is not that uncommon. There are plenty of people who work hard each day. Through history, it has been those workers who have helped this country grow and prosper.

But what makes Russell special are the priorities he has for his life — to be a man someone can be proud of — even with one leg. No obstacle will shut him down. That is the sign of someone with incredible character and strength.

What Russell could teach the nearly 20,000 students in Wayne County Schools is the pride of doing something well and what having a work ethic really means.

He could talk to them about challenges, about different jobs for different people — and what it means to stand with honor. He could tell them that the easy way out is not the measure of a man — and neither is a criminal record or approval from less than desirable peers.

He can teach them the most valuable lesson in life — to be somebody requires a shining light from within, not a rep, not a car and definitely not a government check.

That is a lesson to be carried for a lifetime.

Published in Editorials on November 2, 2007 10:53 AM