Virginia War Memorial surprises WWII veteran, longtime volunteer

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It’s been six months since 8News went along for a ride on a B25 with a World War II veteran and former POW.

In May, 98-year-old Russell Scott had the chance to go for his final ride over Richmond on the type of plane he served on 70 years ago.

It was an experience he recalls often — even receiving messages from people who’ve seen the story around the country.

There are few things Russell holds closer to his heart than the time he spends at the Virginia War Memorial.

“Every Wednesday is a good day for me because I know I’ll be at the War Memorial and I’ll see friends,” said Russell Scott.

Russell volunteers at the front desk of the War Memorial weekly.

And on this particular Wednesday, he got a big surprise from those friends.

“That Russell Scott story has become something of legend here at the Virginia War Memorial and has brought people here again and again and again,” said Clay Mountcastle, the Director of the War Memorial.

A group at the War Memorial came together and decided to honor Russell — immortalizing his story and service to visitors at the Virginia War Memorial.

“We feel its very important to ensure that Russell Scott has a lasting legacy here at the Virginia War Memorial,” said Mountcastle.

“Freedom Hall will now be known as ‘Russell Scott Hall.'”

After the surprise announcement, Russell was the one to unveil a plaque above the door leading into the new space named for him.

‘Russell Scott Hall’ is the space used to educate students and visitors of all ages — an effort Russell has played a big part in throughout his decades of volunteering.

“It was a surprise,” said Russell afterward. “I had no idea.”

A reception was held after Russell’s surprise. The War Memorial will also hang a photo of Russell inside the education space.

“For his service to the nation, for his service to the Commonwealth, the War Memorial and for everything he’s done for all of us — here’s to Russell,” Mountcastle said in a Dr. Pepper toast.

But why Dr. Pepper? Its Russell’s favorite.

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