of you enjoy putting out decorations in your yard for the holiday season, and
one Albertville man is no exception. However, most of his decorations are
handmade, each one a labor of love.
Chuck Russell spent many years as a cabinet maker, so he has a
knack for creative wood projects. He's used his skills to promote the spirit of
Russell doesn't have a large yard, but it is filled with
decorations – most of which he made himself. From a Snoopy to a wooden Rudolph
with red nose, to a cross symbolizing the season, Russell said he enjoys
watching people go by and enjoy his creations as well as actively take part.
Children can hop a ride on Rudolph and get pictures taken.
The decorations are the result of years of building, one after
another, a new one each year. Russell said he hopes people will enjoy their
trip to his home on Head Street to enjoy his gift to the community.
"All this stuff I've dreamed in my mind and made patterns and
brought it to life and painted… so what you see is the only ones in the
world," he said.
Russell, 88, said he has been a Christian since the age of eight.
He said he hopes people will remember the reason behind the holiday.
"That's my gift to my neighbors and my fellow man who come by, and if that
cross helps one person draw closer to God it will be worth all the effort that
was put into it," he said.
Up until 20 years ago, Russell knew what it was like to own a big
house, until his business in Texas failed.
"At one time I had been quite wealthy – three businesses…
[and then] all I had was my pickup," he recalled.
Russell said he wanted to end his life, but instead turned to
Jesus Christ and began listening to what He had to say.
"'I want your life, and I took everything away from you to
get your attention.'"
Russell eventually made his way to Albertville after turning his
life completely over to God. "'What I want you to do is go and enjoy it.
I'll meet all your needs and if you have any problems you give them to me and
I'll take care of them,'" he said.
He once sold his handmade creations for a profit, but not anymore.
Russell enjoys seeing the faces of those who enjoy his work. For him, life is
not about how much money you can get, but how much of yourself you can give
"That's my gift to my neighbors and my fellow man who come
by," he said.
Russell plans to leave his display up until just after the first
of the year, and said this will be the last year he will display it, due to ill
health. He plans to continue giving, including giving the displays to others
who will carry on the tradition.