Putting Jesus first

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
Glenn and Martha Russell are not your average snowbirds. Originally from Maryland, they did the traveling back and forth thing from the Baltimore area to Largo, Florida for 16 years. In 2016, both retired, they sold the big home and moved permanently to the upscale Fairway Village Senior Living Community where they are having the time of their lives.

Both were employed by the Baltimore Police Department where Martha retired as an Executive Assistant to District Commanders. Glenn was a patrolman. Their meeting is something movie scripts are made of and touted loudly. Four months prior to Martha going to work for the BPD, Martha was unceremoniously involved in a 13 car pile up on the freeway. She was driving the 13th car and could not avoid the stopped vehicles.

Glenn was the patrolman that reached her first and wrote her a ticket. The rest is history as they say. Now, four children, six grandchildren, and two great grandchildren, with a third to be born this year, their love is stronger than ever. Glenn often says of Martha, “She is still my sweetheart and best friend.”

Both are very active in their retirement community with Glenn serving as the president of the shuffleboard team for Fairway Village. They compete in their park and also have a traveling team. Glenn is also the president of the American Amateur Association for the local area.

Dale Hough and Martha and Glenn Russell with the 2019 entry in the Fairway Village Christmas Parade in Largo, Florida

The Russells know a thing or two about parades, too, and one of the annual activities they enjoy most is the golf cart Christmas parade at Fairway. Both are creative in their decorations for their cart, but Glenn took it to a higher level this year. He wanted their entry to make a statement.

Glenn and Martha, and best friends, George Comer and Dale Hough, joined Community Bible Baptist Church in Pinellis Park. Glenn was baptized to show his outer commitment of an inward decision. Shortly after a Sunday service, Glenn and Martha were shopping for additional decorations for their cart in a large craft store.

Martha stopped and directly asked Glenn, “What did you get out of Pastor’s sermon this morning?” Glenn thought for a moment and answered, “That we are to put Jesus first in all that we do.” Dr. Brent Stancil, Senior Pastor, had preached a sermon entitled “Jesus First.” That thought propelled Glenn to change the direction of his decorating ideas. He worked with a driving force to make his cart indeed special in the neighborhood parade.

Glenn and Martha added colorful characters, bright flowers, and beautiful word burned signs with pertinent Scripture verses displaying their faith to the many residents that would sit on their drives and lawns to see the happy parade. Glenn is already in to the planning of next year’s entry. He plans to add a full choir to the cart.

Stories with happy endings always please me. The Russells are living the life and putting Jesus first in all they do.

…that in all things, He might have the pre-eminence.
(Colossians 1:18b)

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at 409 781 8788, or
[email protected]


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