By Meg Dickens
If you live in the Johnson County community, you most likely know Russell Love, a proud father, and grandfather who is devoted to the youth and the community’s future.
Love currently works with his wife, Kathie Love, at LRH Billing and Account Management and is an elder at Dewey Christian Church.
Love gained inspiration from strong former teachers and coaches. That is how he decided to pursue education as a career. Love moved to Mountain City from Elizabethton to become a teacher and coach at Johnson County Middle School when it opened its doors in 1976. He started its first football team that same year and later moved to Johnson County High School where he taught a multitude of subjects during his career including health, physical education, family life and driver’s education. He was such a fixture on the hill that many were shocked when he retired.
Love did not slow down after retiring in 2014. If anything, he has continued his work to help the youth in this community.
Love is currently involved in the following activities: the James B. Plumber Memorial Scholarship, the Johnson County Community Foundation, the Junior Appalachian Musician (JAM) program, the Johnson County Arts Council, the annual Johnson County Community Center Easter egg hunt, the Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade, where he plays a certain jolly fellow, and Christmas on Main.
“We’re all obligated to do what we can,” Love said when asked about his community involvement. “It’s an opportunity.”
Love seems to focus on one recurring theme: people impact people. That, in turn, brings about growth and change. By being a positive influence, Love can “help benefit and guide young people in the right direction” which makes it more likely that they will also work towards a positive change in the future.
He enjoys working with enthusiastic programs and groups of people with various thoughts and interests who are focused on achieving a common goal. Programs such as JAM go above and beyond to make a difference. Sponsors Danny Herman Trucking, the Dan Paul Foundation and the Johnson County Community Foundation pool resources to provide instruments for any youth who would like to learn to play.
What is community to Russell Love? He says it is “a group of people, a body of people that have common goals and shared interests and are willing to work together to bring about positive change and achieve those goals.”
Love enjoys the small town, rural atmosphere of Mountain City and is very community oriented. “God blesses us with the opportunity. We need to do the best we can with it.” Love declared. He later referenced The Builder by Lou Holtz to make a point. We as people should build with care; be positive and do as much good as we possibly can. Even the smallest contribution can make a significant impact in the long run.
Love has touched many lives in his time here, and he is still out there making a difference.