KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — The Knox County Commission on Monday honored former WBIR anchor Russell Biven for his many years of service to the East Tennessee community.
Commissioner Justin Biggs read the resolution honoring Russell on the occasion of his retirement from WBIR, expressing the county's gratitude for "his dedication to the community and the many lives he has touched and inspired over the years."
Biggs spoke of Russell's career, Volunteer spirit and history of community service as a public figure, including how his annual Summer Clayfest Tournament has raised nearly $1 million for the Helen Ross McNabb Center.
Russell thanked Biggs and the commission after the reading, remaining humble.
"I know you have a lot more important things to do today, and I just want to say thanks," he said.
The honor came shortly after Knoxville Reverend Harold Middlebrook -- a Civil Rights member and friend to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- delivered the invocation prayer.
Russell got a little teary eyed as he spoke about it and remembered his mother's work.
"In the 60s my mother helped open the first desegregated restaurant in the city of Atlanta, and Dr. King Jr. was there as the first customer and Rev. Middlebrook I believe was across the street at a different event, but I am honored that he is here and my mother I'll be able to talk to her tonight and tell her," he said. "It's a small world... I appreciate you buddy."
Russell returned his gratitude to the commission for their service to the community.
"Anybody who ever sees anything good in me, it's not from me. I hope you never remember my name. I hope you remember what I stand for and the God I serve, because that's the only thing good in me -- I promise you that," he said. "God bless ya, I love this town and I'll do anything for it."
Russell retired earlier in April after more than 20 years at WBIR to take the next step in his professional career.