A Tribute

May 3, 2019Events

I want to express my appreciation and love for three ladies I have known for over 50 years. These ladies are the heart and soul of the Russell Home. They are Vantrease Harris-Blair, Betty Harris-T.- Hoover and Judy Harris. I want to highlight the insanely giving, beautiful ladies they are inside and out. I know most of you already know this, but I wanted to put it into words.

Judy Harris is the daughter of Mrs. Russell (Grandma Russell). She has been an integral part of Russell Home since she was born. Judy has always been like a second Mom to me. While growing up across the street from the Harris’ and being best friends with her daughters Judy treated me like I was one of her own children. Not realizing it as a child that by Judy bringing me to the Russell Home impacted my life in such a special, positive way and what that influence is still making in my life today. I am forever grateful to her. She told me ever since she was a little girl she has always helped and taken care of all the special needs residents who have come into this wonderful home. She would get up in the early morning hours before school and help with feedings, changings etc., and then off to school she went. Still to this day she cares care for them with such compassion and love. She has been a constant gift to Russell Home her entire life. Judy is truly an inspiring lady!

Vantrease Harris-Blair (Grandma Russell’s granddaughter and Judy’s oldest daughter) and I have been best friends for 5o years plus. Starting at the age of nine I would come with Vantrease and Betty to the Russell Home and spend the night at Grandma’s house. Just like to Judy, to Grandma Russell I was just another child that was loved and accepted. I am in aww of what Vantrease has helped in getting accomplished at the Russell Home in the last ten years, especially with regards to the huge Russell Home remodel a couple of years ago. Vantrease has the arduous responsibility with respect to all the financial affairs of the Russell Home plus making sure Russell Home is abiding by all the State of Florida guidelines, rules and regulations. Additionally, she has the responsibility of the day to day running of the Russell Home Thrift Store. She gives 110% and has a true gift for fighting for what is true and right for Russell Home and she gets the job done! Vantrease has always been and will always be a true friend and blessing to me. Russell Home is blessed to have her!

Betty Harris-T.- Hoover (Grandma Russell’s granddaughter and Judy’s youngest daughter) and I have been friends for just as long. Most of you probably know Betty. We call Betty the face of Russell Home around here. She is that pretty, blonde, bubbly, sweet lady you see when you walk in the door. She makes me laugh each and every day. Betty is like the Mom of the Russell Home. When she walks in the door the residents are so very happy to see her. Betty has a gift for caring for all the residents and making sure all their needs are met. She coordinates their medical needs, field trips, doctor appointments, social security and insurance and so much more. Betty shows unconditional love to each and every resident and to her one of them is just as precious as the other. Betty is so gracious and kind to everyone she knows or meets. She truly has a gift and unconditional love for what she does for the Russell Home. Day or night she is available to whoever needs her. I cannot imagine Russell Home without her!

These ladies are true giving souls who improve and unselfishly give to the lives of others so that others may live their best life possible. These ladies have the strength and compassion to put their needs and problems ahead of their own. Working at Russell Home myself they inspire me every day to be better in every way. I know without question that Grandma Russell is looking down on the Russell Home and is so proud of these ladies and that they are carrying on her legacy. I am so blessed to not only work with them but to have a lifelong friendship with them. I am forever changed for being part of the Russell Home and for the gift of their love and friendship. Words cannot describe what Russell Home has meant and continues to mean to me and for what these ladies have meant and continue to mean to me in my life forever and always. Russell Home and myself are so blessed to have them in our lives!

Judy, Vantrease and Betty definitely embody the following Bible verse-

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. -Philippians 2, 3-4

Blessings, Pam

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