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History

Mission Statement: To provide disabled veterans who experienced loss of limb and mobility problems with the resources necessary to adjust in a post-war environment. As a result of the events and fundraisers, sponsored by Step Up For Soldiers, we strive to not only enhance their lives and those of their families but also help to restore their confidence and positive self image.

Thomas Russell

Founder / CFO / Board Member
910.297.4981
e: /staff-bio/name/thomas-russell

Tom Russell, Founder and Director of Step Up For Soldiers, served 2 years in the Army and was deployed to Vietnam in 1968 with the 7th Squadron 1st Air Calvary. After serving his country, Tom spent the next 21 years as a police officer and emergency rescue squad professional at the New York Port Authority and retired to Kure Beach, North Carolina.

He founded Step Up For Soldiers in 2004 with a desire to give back to the community and the military. Since then Tom has built the organization into a small army of volunteers dedicated to providing Renovations, Recreation and Recognition to returning troops.

The organization has gone from building 2 wheel chair ramps for soldiers returning from Iraq to building the 'Fallen Soldiers Memorial' in Wilmington, NC, numerous home renovations, consulting on the National Guard Memorial in Fayettville, NC and much more. He has also accepted a volunteer position with NC National Guard as its FRG (family readiness coordinator). In this position Tom assists the commanding officer of the 1-120th C.A.B. with the needs of 200 families while the Unit is deployed.

During his career, Tom earned an 'Award and Commendation' for rescuing passengers on TWA flight #843 and helping extinguish its fire. He also earned and 'Award for Excellent Police Work and Valor' resulting from the rescue of people trapped after the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. As a civilian Tom drove trucks transporting supplies to ground zero for the first three days following the 9-11-2001 tragedy. He was also honored to be chosen Grand Marshal for the 1996 Port Authority Police Unit that marched up 5th Ave. in New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Working with Master Sgt. John Henson, Tom and the Master Sgt. developed the concept and design for the Fallen Soldier Memorial. The Fallen Soldier Memorial is the largest North Carolina National Guard Memorial. Step Up For Soldiers continues to maintain and preserve the memorial on a weekly basis. The memorial is located in Wilmington, N.C. at 2412 Infantry Rd. near the Wilmington ILM international airport.

Tom continues to be the most active member of the organization by actively managing the day to day operations while spending his weekends at festivals, cook offs and motorcycle rallies as fundraisers. Other significant credentials held by Tom are:

  • Awarded the Minuteman award from 1-120th CAB Army National Guard for service to the unit while being deployed in 2009
  • Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity from 1997 - 2001
  • Treasurer and President with the Kure Beach Village HOA between January 1996 and October 2000
  • Lieutenant as member of the Kure Beach Volunteer Fire Dept. since May 1995
  • Member of Kure Beach 50th Anniversary committee

« Back

Thomas Russell

Founder / CFO / Board Member
910.833.7646
e: /staff-bio/name/thomas-russell

Tom Russell, Founder and Director of Step Up For Soldiers, served 2 years in the Army and was deployed to Vietnam in 1968 with the 7th Squadron 1st Air Calvary. After serving his country, Tom spent the next 21 years as a police officer and emergency rescue squad professional at the New York Port Authority and retired to Kure Beach, North Carolina.

He founded Step Up For Soldiers in 2004 with a desire to give back to the community and the military. Since then Tom has built the organization into a small army of volunteers dedicated to providing Renovations, Recreation and Recognition to returning troops.

The organization has gone from building 2 wheel chair ramps for soldiers returning from Iraq to building the 'Fallen Soldiers Memorial' in Wilmington, NC, numerous home renovations, consulting on the National Guard Memorial in Fayettville, NC and much more. He has also accepted a volunteer position with NC National Guard as its FRG (family readiness coordinator). In this position Tom assists the commanding officer of the 1-120th C.A.B. with the needs of 200 families while the Unit is deployed.

During his career, Tom earned an 'Award and Commendation' for rescuing passengers on TWA flight #843 and helping extinguish its fire. He also earned and 'Award for Excellent Police Work and Valor' resulting from the rescue of people trapped after the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. As a civilian Tom drove trucks transporting supplies to ground zero for the first three days following the 9-11-2001 tragedy. He was also honored to be chosen Grand Marshal for the 1996 Port Authority Police Unit that marched up 5th Ave. in New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Working with Master Sgt. John Henson, Tom and the Master Sgt. developed the concept and design for the Fallen Soldier Memorial. The Fallen Soldier Memorial is the largest North Carolina National Guard Memorial. Step Up For Soldiers continues to maintain and preserve the memorial on a weekly basis. The memorial is located in Wilmington, N.C. at 2412 Infantry Rd. near the Wilmington ILM international airport.

Tom continues to be the most active member of the organization by actively managing the day to day operations while spending his weekends at festivals, cook offs and motorcycle rallies as fundraisers. Other significant credentials held by Tom are:

  • Awarded the Minuteman award from 1-120th CAB Army National Guard for service to the unit while being deployed in 2009
  • Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity from 1997 - 2001
  • Treasurer and President with the Kure Beach Village HOA between January 1996 and October 2000
  • Lieutenant as member of the Kure Beach Volunteer Fire Dept. since May 1995
  • Member of Kure Beach 50th Anniversary committee

« Back

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