U.S. Army Air Corps
If ever there was a love affair between an individual and his home town, it certainly existed between Don Russell and Stamford. Don always loved this town, watching it grow from a sleepy New England burg into a thriving and bustling metropolis. And not surprisingly in turn, Stamford and its residents loved, admired and respected Don for so many years. It is unfortunate and heartbreaking to require the past tense in discussing Don Russell, but destiny took him from our midst before we had the chance to bestow this award. Don was notified of this honor only days before he passed away.
Just about everyone is familiar with Don’s fabulous media exploits. His talents applied to a wide-ranging plethora of projects ranging from network news to the Jackie Gleason Show to the Grand Ole’ Opry, but Don also had an impressive military background which, coincidentally, aided in launching his show-biz career.
In the early ‘40s, with WW II raging, Don left college to enlist in the Army Air Corps. He was trained and assigned as a navigator and flew numerous combat missions in the European campaign. Along the way, his voice and his personality came to the fore, and he was assigned to Armed Forces Radio as a news announcer and disc jockey. The rest is history.
Our committee members loved and admired Don over his many years among us, and proudly designate him as one of our Honored Veterans.