Community Heroes: Lee County firefighter EMT answering when community calls for 14 years

Community Heroes

LEE COUNTY, Va. (WJHL)- Every Wednesday we introduce you to a person who makes our region a better place to live. We call them Community Heroes.

This week, we travel to Lee County, Virginia to meet a woman who has a long list of responsibilities but always has time to answer when her community calls.

Clara Russell works long hours and hardly sleeps.

Clara Russell has been an EMT for 14 years and a firefighter for four years.

Jasper Volunteer Fire Department Captain Austin Phillips said, “She’s a good person. She’s fun to be around. Very smart. She’ll help you in anyway you can possible, if you ask her.”

“It’s important to have people to do this kind of work because {when you} make a difference within your community, you make a difference in people’s lives,” Jasper Fire and Rescue firefighter EMT, Clara Russell said.

From 8 a.m. Monday morning to 8 a.m. the next morning, this life-saving champion is tending to her community of Jasper, in Lee County Virginia.

She also helps out Big Stone Gap Rescue Squad and the Virginia Department of Forestry in Wise County.

“You’re there for them in their time of need, at their lowest and they need us,” Russell said. “Any day that’s a good day to save a life is a good day.”

On her off-days, the working mom puts on her apron at four seasons produce store and restaurant.

“Even though it was 24-hour shifts on the ambulance service, if we needed her on her days off, she was always willing to help out co-workers and fellow employees,” Four Season Produce Store and Restaurant owner, Deonna Maggard said.

Restaurant owner, Deonna Maggard, said Russell’s kindness goes beyond her job duties.

“She’s went with me on a couple just to check on our customers that we’ve got to know through the years to make sure they’ve had what they needed, and their well-being and taken care of,” Maggard said.

For many, she is also a good role model and confidant.

Phillips added, “She’s helped me out a lot. We had an incident not long ago where I had to go with her to the hospital to get [decontaminated] because of the coronavirus. It was my first incident working with COVID. It was a little scary at first, and she’s just there to help me through it.”

And that is why she’s our community hero.

If you know someone who makes our community a better place to live, we want to hear from you! Nominate them to be an ABC Tri-Cities Community Hero! Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to nominate them.

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