DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY/Gray News) – Keith Russell is all smiles as he fondly remembers his family, and military runs deep in his blood.

“My grandfather was in World War I,” said Russell. “Two uncles in the Air Force, another in the Navy, an uncle in the Marines…”

Russell himself is a highly decorated Air Force veteran who has traveled everywhere to serve his country.

“I’ve went to Norway, Columbia, Panama Canal, Honduras, Canada, Saudi Arabia, really all over the world,” said Russell. “My wife makes fun of me because she says, ‘You’re like a nomad. You could go live anywhere at any time.’”

The military is the foundation of his life, and his memories still linger strongly.

“I ended up learning how to copy morse code,’ said Russell. “I went to Desert Storm and deployed the unit to Saudi Arabia.”

The bonds he made then still tie him to those who served alongside him.

“A lot of the relationships that you garner last a lifetime,” said Russell. “The influence that we have on each other is tremendous.”

You would think nearly 30 years after retirement, Russell’s passion for military service would have diminished. But it hasn’t in the slightest.

“So many of us had put on that uniform, male, female, every walk of life,” said Russell.

It is those who inspired him to create a growing memorial in his front yard.

“I wanted to acknowledge the millions who have served in the military,” said Russell. “It takes everybody.”

The memorial pays homage to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. It’s a patriotic tribute along Timbers Drive – impressive and head-turning.

“People come by, they honk, they wave, or they’ll slow down and say, ‘We love your memorial,” said Russell.

It’s a display that makes us proud and makes Keith prouder.

“It really all came together,” said Russell. “I would love for people to remember that we’re Americans first and we need to take care of each other.”

It’s a deserving salute to those who fought to keep us in the ‘Land of the Free.’ Russell is a true patriot, who isn’t looking for any gratitude.

“I believe in God and country,” said Russell. “I didn’t do it for fame, fortune or anything like that. I did it out of my heart.”

He wants a country united.

“No matter what color you are, or occupation you have,” said Russell. “We’re Americans and we need to realize we really have a blessing here.”

Russell is planning to add more additions to his memorial soon.



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