Who we are
Russell A. Jackson serves as the Chief Executive Officer for The National Center for Fire and Life Safety. Russell has more than 24 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, having served as a volunteer, consultant and staff person. He is a 2008 CNN News HERO and one of AOL’s Amazing Dads of 2010. Prior to entering the nonprofit sector Russell served as one of the youngest firefighters ever to be hired, at that time, by the Hoover Fire Department in Alabama. Later in his career, in 1992, his engine company responded to a medical call that resulted in the death of a two year old boy. From this tragedy, and per the advice of a grief counselor assigned to him by the city, he immediately began volunteering in the community as part of his process to work through the grief. During his volunteering efforts he uncovered a great need and in 1997 resigned from his job as a firefighter, taking a tremendous leap of faith to start the Kid One Transport System.
Kid One Transport is a nonprofit organization in Alabama that continues today. The organization has transported since its inception more than 23,000 medically ill children and expectant mothers to the doctor when they are without means of transportation. Russell, discovering his passion as an organizational builder, problem solver and partnership developer, passed the baton to his successor at Kid One Transport on December 31, 2004 to pursue other options. He has had the distinct pleasure and honor of assisting numerous local, state and national organizations.
Russell’s past and present civic involvement is extensive, including but not limited to, serving as President of the Birmingham Junior Chamber of Commerce, Trustee Chair of Discovery United Methodist, Vice-President of the Hoover City Schools Foundation Board, Board Member of Voices for Alabama’s Children, PTO President at Deer Valley Elementary in Hoover, PTO President of Calera Intermediate School, and in 2003 was appointed by then Alabama Governor Bob Riley to the Alabama Children’s Policy Council.
Russell has received extensive training and experience in the areas of leadership, organizational turnarounds, nonprofit management, board governance, fund development, cause-related marketing and several other key areas critical to the success of a nonprofit. He’s received numerous honors, too many to list here, such as Birmingham’s Top 40 Under 40, Tiger Woods National Local Hero, the JC Penney Golden Rule Award, the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Drive for Excellence Award, The Birmingham News Unsung Hero and many others.
Russell has been married to his incredible wife of 19 years, Mary Weatherford, and has two amazing children – Harrison and Mackenzie Grace. The family attends Church of the Highlands in Birmingham.