Russ King grew up in Donelson and graduated from McGavock High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Arts in Religion from Lipscomb University. He’s currently working towards a Masters Degree in Conflict Management. Russ has good memories of going to kindergarten at Donelson Church of Christ, playing football at the YMCA, hanging out at Opryland in middle school, and cruising Shoney’s near Donelson Plaza in his high school years. Russ recalls getting his first pair of glasses, first speeding ticket, first kiss, and getting married all in Donelson. “It’s where I learned the blessing of good friends, the value of good neighbors, hard work, respect and faith,” Russ recalls about growing up in the community. “Many things have changed through the years, but these values are still taught and lived right here in 37214. I am thankful to have grown up here and excited about our future.”
Russ and Donna have been married for over 35 years with three kids and a beautiful foster daughter in Guatemala, who came into their lives through an organization to help children with medical needs. Russ, Donna and DCC have also impacted the kids at McGavock Elementary in a big way by being a PENCIL Partner, offering weekly tutoring, meals for teachers, PTA support, free weekly ESL classes for adults, providing backpacks with school supplies, and a free community dinner once a month. DCC was the first church to be awarded the Outstanding PENCIL Partner Award, presented by Mayor Karl Dean. Their Help Center is open every Tuesday and assists 50 families weekly with free food, clothing and furniture. DCC completed an expansion in 2012 and includes a free quarterly dental clinic. They are also involved in Room at the Inn, providing lodging and food for 24 homeless men one night each week in November through March.
When Donelson Church of Christ created a Minister of Community Outreach position in 2011, Russ and Donna had an opportunity to come back home to Donelson. “Nothing is Louder than Love” is a theme at the church and the congregation has done great things to put that into action. Russ is a fellow graduate of Leadership Donelson-Hermitage Class of 2013 and we bonded a friendship that grew when he joined the board of directors for the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce and became the Division Director for Community Development. Russ enriched my personal experience on the board and especially while President, we had the opportunity to work together to enhance the Chamber’s Program of Work to reach out to the faith community and Donelson-Hermitage Ministerial Association to put together an annual Faith Leader’s Forum sponsored by Donelson Church of Christ. To prepare for the event, Russ cataloged the over 50 faith communities in the Donelson-Hermitage-Old Hickory area and created an incredibly successful luncheon, where members of over 30 different faith communities attended, accompanied by non-profits and Metro agencies, that resulted in a comprehensive list of ways our faith community gives back, from supporting the blind, care for Lyme disease, clothing for the needy, clothes and formula for newborns, financial assistance with rent or utilities, alcoholics anonymous, Alzheimer’s support, amputee support, grief and loss support, tutoring, career counseling, pregnancy crisis support, and a list for needy families to show where a different food bank is open every day of the week.
Our faith communities serve Donelson in so many incredible ways and as one of its leaders, Russ has brought energy, humility, a joyous sense of humor and an inspiring spirit that brings smiles to everyone.