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By Bill Coburn and Tim Anderson, photo by Bill Coburn
Russ Anderson, a member of Sierra Madre’s World Famous Search and Rescue team, was named Older American of the Year it was announced by the Senior Community Commission. Anderson, who moved to Sierra Madre in 1966, was nominated by the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team, of which he has been a member for more than 30 years.
I got a chance to sit down and talk with Russ today, and found out lots of facts like he went to South Pasadena high school, until he was a junior, at which time he attended Pasadena Jr. College (at the time, it served as the City’s High School). He and his wife of 48 and a half years, Madeline, have three children, Tim, Gary and Lori (forgot to get the order on that, not sure who’s oldest or youngest), and Tim and Lori have provided him with 3 grandchildren, and his first great-grandchild is on the way.
I learned that he’s an inventor of equipment for rescue teams, equipment that has been utilized to rescue/save countless people around the world. I learned that he’s very proud that he has made 173 platelet donations to City of Hope, to assist those in need due to cancer, and that he’s introduced the whole family to donating platelets.
I learned a lot more than that, but I think I’m going to save the rest of it for future articles we’ll run leading up to the Older American banquet, which will be held May 4th, at 4:30 in the Senior Center in Memorial Park. And here’s why I’m going to hold off on that info.
Last night, I e-mailed Russ’s son Tim, who coincidentally is a long-time friend of mine, because in my experience with interviewing Sierra Madre’s old-timers, they have a tendency to be quite modest, and humble, and I felt sure that Russ wasn’t going to share everything with me. So I asked Tim if a) he had a quote for my article and b) is there “Anything you can tell me about him that he won’t bring up because of modesty or being too humble?”
His response says infinitely more than I could tell you from my brief conversation with Russ.
Years ago he
confided in me that he felt guilty for getting praised for the work he's done
because if they (those who praised him) knew how much pleasure he derived from
it, that it really isn't work at all. What an incredible attitude!
I think it's
great he's being acknowledged for his contributions. I'm sure he will be humbled
by it all. In fact there's no way to list all the thing he's had a part in.
They range from community work, the Rescue Team, blood and platelet donations,
inventions to aid in rescue work (that have been implemented all over the world)
and so much more, it’s impossible to convey the good he's done that will affect
everyone in one way or another.
enough to be able to share his gifts with his 3 grandchildren as he has taken
them all on numerous back packing trips, rock climbing ventures and general
thrill seeking events over the years. We all hope he'll still be able to be
active with his great-grandchildren too, coming soon. (I'm going to be a
grandpa). If these kids can put the things they've learned from Russell to
practical use, there's no way they can fail.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. I won’t even try.
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