Heroes of Texoma: Retired Lt. Col. Teri Russell

(Source: KAUZ)
(Source: KAUZ)

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - This week's Hero of Texoma was born in the Midwest but calls Wichita County home.

Teri Russell joined the United States Air Force at 28-years-old.

The wife and mother wanted to further her education and decided serving to serve our country while doing so, was the way to go.

"I was the only one of eight that actually was married and had a child going through the internship and it was tough. It was a tough ten months. Then I stayed 23 and a half years," Russell said.

During her, more than two decades of service Russell traveled all over the country and parts of the world.

"I don't have any regrets of any base that I've ever been at," she said.

Her career eventually brought her to Sheppard Air Force Base where she met Miss Fannie Mae Berry.

In 2008, Russell built a team to tackle a "Christmas in Action" project and the person they selected to help was Miss Mae Berry.

"She was sick at the time and so she was taking care of a colony of feral cats in the backyard. She passed away four months later from stage four lung cancer, so during that time while I was helping her and befriended her and continued to take care of the cats, it was my love and passion for helping them that developed Miss Fannie's Friends," Russell said.

For the next five years, Russell juggled active duty services as well as running Miss Fannie's Friends and developing the Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program.

"There was many days that it was very little sleep. Maybe two or three hours. There's still days like that," she said.

Following retirement in February of 2013, Russell has been dedicating her time to helping this furry population.

"It takes a lot of work," she said.

Miss Fannie's Friends took in at least 70 kittens over the summer.

All are fixed. If the cats cannot be fostered or adopted, they are taken back to their neighborhoods to live out the rest of their lives.

If you would like to donate or volunteer, check out the nonprofit's facebook page here.

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Help us honor the true Heroes of Texoma.

Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6

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