‘I considered him a friend’: 8News reporter bids final farewell to local American hero Russell Scott

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Loved ones, friends, community members and others are giving a final farewell to a local American hero who passed away this week.

Russell Scott, a World War II veteran and longtime volunteer at the Virginia War Memorial, died Tuesday at the age of 99.

Scott lived his 99 years with a heart full of love, faith and down-to-earth kindness. There are some people you hope will live forever and in many ways, Scott will.

Over the past three years, 8News’ Amy Simpson has documented at least a half a dozen stories about Scott’s life.

Scott and 8News’ Amy Simpson take a selfie while riding in a B-25.

Born in Richmond in 1920, Scott eventually joined the Army Air Corps, one of four sons all in the military.

Scott broke his back parachuting from a B-25 after it was shot down over Italy in 1944. Even decades after surviving months as a prisoner of war, the purple heart recipient still saw the world through a rosy lens.

“I think about the good times that I had,” Scott told 8News. “I never had a bad time other than when I was in the prisoner of war camp.”

Scott’s B-25 went down on May 25, 1944, after both engines were shot out during one of his first missions overseas in Italy.

In 2018, 8News took Scott for his final flight on a B-25, the same type of plane Scott was shot down from over Europe during World War II.

“I just felt like I wanted to be back in a B-25,” Scott said in 2018 after the plane landed. “I enjoyed being there, it felt like I was 24 years old again. Now I’ve had my last ride in a B-25.”

Earlier in the year, Scott received hundreds of birthday cards as he celebrated his 99th birthday.

Scott sits on a B-25 in 2018 with 8News.

There’s even a room dedicated in his name at the Virginia War Memorial, a place where Scott volunteered weekly for 20 years. Scott’s friends at the Virginia War Memorial were more like family for him.

“Every Wednesday is a good day for me because I know I’ll be at the war memorial,” Scott said in 2018.

While this Wednesday is the first one without Scott’s slow Virginia drawl, his kind eyes and gentle smile are just a click away.

Scott unveils the Russell Scott Hall at the Virginia War Memorial.

This week Scott completes his journey here on earth but his spirit lives on with everybody who loves him.

Scott’s funeral is set for 11 a.m. on Nov. 25 at the Lakeside Baptist Church.

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