Troy’s firefighters paid homage Tuesday to their founding chief, Sydney Russell, by dedicating their newest tanker truck to the man who served 36 years as the department’s head.
The new, 3,000-gallon tanker was on display at an open house celebration Tuesday. The side features an updated painting of the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil whirling around while carrying buckets of water, something that was iconic of the original truck, nicknamed “Taz.”
A black plaque at the corner of the body toward the truck’s cabin reads “dedicated to the memory of Chief Sydney ‘Rut’ Russell.”
Russell was one of the founders of the station — a pioneer among Greenwood County’s early firefighters who saw the need to create a county fire service and put in the work to get it established.
“Rut spent 35 years as the former chief,” said current Chief Adam McCoy. “We just thought it would be an honor to him to dedicate it to him.”
The 1976 truck this newest truck was replacing was in use for 43 years; longer than Russell was chief. The new one was paid for by a FEMA grant that Assistant Chief Aaron Walker applied for last June, which he said he did with the help of fellow firefighter Franklin Cloninger.
Sara Russell, the former chief’s widow, was front and center when the department made its dedication. She said her husband had an undying love for the fire service, driven by a need to help people.
“This really means a lot to me,” she said. “Much, much more than I can say.”