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Chest Pain Center named for Thrift Store founder

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     Honoring the founder of a community institution -  (l-r) Dr. Moiz Master, Medical Director at Piedmont Mountainside; Don Russell, Thrift Store founder; Dr. Rose Spillane, member of Piedmont Mountainside Hospital Board and hospital CEO Denise Ray. The hospital will name their new Chest Pain Clinic in honor of Russell.


Piedmont Mountainside Hospital will name their Chest Pain Center in honor of Don Russell, the founder of the Community Thrift Store – an institution that has contributed millions to area non-profits made by the sale of donated second-hand items.

Speaking at a surprise ceremony for Russell Thursday at the Thrift Store, Piedmont Mountainside CEO Denise Ray said this marks the first time the hospital has named part of its facility for anyone. She called Russell a community leader who understood the importance of having a local hospital.

Jacque Coxe, from the hospital, praised Russell as a man who follows-through with his ideas to the benefit of the entire community. 

“I don’t believe there is a single place here that does for others that doesn’t have your hand prints on it,” she said.

Russell’s wife Mary arranged the surprise ceremony where Russell was informed of the honor just before they opened the thrift store that day. The store, located at 110 Samaritan Drive, has returned more than $5 million to area non-profits in the 17 years since it opened.

Russell said, “God brought Mary and I here 20 years ago and He had some ideas. I have been able to hang around and see them completed.”

Russell credited the hard work of the 200 volunteers at the Thrift Store for its success since opening in 2000. Money made there is given to groups by the board of Pickens County Community Resource Association (PCCRA).

Russell has many times noted that in addition to the money the store generates for charity, it gives away much more to the poor or anyone whose home has been damaged.

A plaque in honor of Russell will be hung in the Chest Pain Center.

In addition to his work with PCCRA and the Thrift Store, Russell is the founder of the North Ga. Men’s Christian Fellowship; Co-founder of Community Emergency Shelter; Former president of Pickens Family Connections; Founder of Prison Ministry After-Care; former executive director of Keep Pickens Beautiful. He has served on the boards of Ga. Mountains Hospice, Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center, Timothy House and Ruth House. He was also the founder and a board member of the Boys & Girls Club of North Georgia.

This marks the third building/part of a building named for Russell. The Boys and Girls Club teen center and the Thrift Store itself also bear his name.