5 Questions

5 Questions: Columbus native Alton Russell talks about storytelling

You are 76 and still working almost every day. Why haven't you retired?

I work for a great company, Copaco, Columbus Paper Co., and been there 27 years. I love what I do and work to service my customers and it is still fun.

You are a storyteller and you do it in character. What is your favorite character?

My favorite character is "The Patriot" telling the exciting stories of our great country and its history. The students of today do not get the real history and the why's of why we are great. I try to tell that using regular ordinary men and women that did outstanding and extraordinary things.

How many gigs a month do you do and how do people get in touch with you?

It depends on time of year, during Constitution week, I was in Cobb County for several days and met with several elementary classes. Other times at least one or two times a month. Western festivals are fun and fall is a good and busy time.

I have a website, www.georgiataleteller.com. And I subscribe to several booking agents that send me inquirers, plus word of mouth is always best.

How did it come about that you started the Columbus Young Republicans group?

The Young Republicans came about when Barry Goldwater was running for President. There was not many Republicans in Georgia, so we started the YR to help elect Goldwater. We could have met in a phone booth at first, but we did get a good group and made some headway for Conservative Republicans in our area.

We had a good time and several years later the same folks with the Columbus Jaycees helped with Columbus becoming the first consolidated government in Georgia.

What is the best kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?

Its people Columbus has the best, brightest, hardest working and most caring folks anywhere. Everybody will be your friend if you will just allow it. I love Columbus and love calling it home.