Reverend Russell Edwards of Victory Baptist Church in Rockingham has been present for many regular monthly meetings held by the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, for which he often gave the invocation. He also gives the invocation at the board’s annual retreat.
At Monday night’s regular December meeting, board Chairman Kenneth Robinette presented Edwards with a plaque of appreciation, and thanked him for being available to offer spiritual guidance.
“It was kind of shocking,” said Edwards about the plaque. “I wasn’t expecting it. It was just a blessing. Sometimes you feel like you are spinning your wheels and then something like this happens and that’s encouraging. I was so thankful. I try to do right and help people.”
Edwards’ family is from Johnson County, where Springfield is located. He is from a small town named Princeton, where he was raised among 16 other children.
“There were only 17 of us,” said Edwards. “I was number nine, right in the middle.”
Edwards said he and his brothers got into the grocery store business with their father, and at one time had seven different IGA stores across North Carolina. Edwards and his family own IGA stores in Richmond County, and some outside of the county as well.
While providing goods that everyone needs such as food, Edwards also chose to serve the Lord. He said he came to Richmond County in 1971 out of college, and said his church was just a mission then; two houses on the side of Highway 74 that grew over time into the church it is today.
“I’ve been here a long time,” said Edwards. “I’ll be 80 in February, but I don’t feel that old. My mother lived to be 94.”
Edwards is honored that the board of commissioners seeks his spiritual council on matters regarding the future of the county.
“It’s good to think they have that much confidence in me,” said Edwards. “I try to pray with them. I like to encourage people. The Lord’s been so good.”
Edwards said he would like to see spiritual unity in Richmond County in the year ahead.
“I would like to see us somehow bring people back into the churches,” said Edwards. “Especially the younger generation. I think they want spirituality, but they don’t want to make the commitment to spirituality. I sure would like to see us get back to old fashioned families, loving one another. When you’re out there fighting the battle by yourself, it’s tough. But if you’ve got family, you’ve got everything.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.