Bauxite Mayor Bill Russell never thought of himself as “political animal,” but a few short years ago, that all changed. “My wife and I came to Bauxite in 2012 wanting to buy property, looking for a place she could operate her hair shop,” he said. “We found a place on Stanley Circle.
“Later that same year, the Lord woke me up in the middle of the night and suggested that I run for mayor of the town – no kidding,” he added.
Russell, the founder and minister of Fellowship of the Cross Worship Center in Benton, said his wife laughed when he shared the story, but in 2014, he ran for City Hall and won.
“I have been pastoring for the last 18 years, and I feel like the Lord wants to bring an awakening here to Saline County and especially here in Bauxite,” he said. “I am looking for the Lord to do something great in our midst, something that the whole nation will stand up and take notice.”
Russell and his family moved to Saline County in 1994. A self-employed bricklayer from Indiana, he admitted getting started was tough. “I had just started to work for myself in the middle of winter, of all times, and had trouble finding work.” He had family in Saline County who invited him into their home to find work.
“I came down, work tools and all,” he said. “ I had my first job building a brick sign on Military Road, and from that job work came pouring in. I have been in Saline County since.”
Russell describes himself as “sort of a visionary,” and has big plans for Bauxite. He sees the school system as a major strength of the town and hopes to help revitalize the town through economic development and infrastructure.
“I believe with all of my heart that our town is destined for greatness,” he said. “I don’t tell many people this, but this is what I see.”