Russ was raised in the Chicago area, the son of Lew and Connie Edwards who were both educators. Russ participated in Football and Track in high school and was involved in church youth activities including drama and music. After high school, Russ attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, and Taylor University in Upland, IN. During his time at Moody, he was a member of the Concert Band, playing low brass instruments, and eventually served as the President. While at Taylor, he resumed participating in football and track, taking 3rd in the nation in the Long Jump at the 1985 NCCAA National meet. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education from Moody in 1986 with a focus on youth ministries. Also during this period, a major event took place that had a massive impact on his life; he met his future wife, Tara.
Russ and Tara were married in Denver in 1988 and immediately began teaching and coaching at local high schools. In 1991, Russ joined the Army as a Warrant Officer to fly Medevac helicopters. After flight school, he and his family were stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks where their love of Alaska began. After a following assignment with the 101stAirborne Division in KY, the Edwards’ changed over from the Army to the Alaska Air National Guard in Anchorage. Russ served on Active Duty with the Guard for the last 20 years, conducting civilian Search and Rescue operations with the 210thRescue Squadron here in Alaska and in combat operations overseas. After 28 years in the military, he retired in 2019 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of LifeMed, which provides vital medical transportation to the people of communities all around Alaska utilizing ambulances, helicopters, turboprops, and jets. Russ has also been on the Anchorage Grace Church Elder Board for the last few years and is currently one of the two AGC Elders sitting on the School Board.
He and Tara, who teaches high school English at Grace, have three children; Drew and Jordan graduated from GCS and have degrees from Liberty University and The Master’s College respectively. Drew competed in the Decathlon for the Flames and Jordan played soccer for the Mustangs. Brennyn has attended GCS since kindergarten and is now in High School, participating in both Cross Country and Track. Russ and Tara have continued their coaching of young athletes and have both coached track for over 14 years. Tara has been a very successful head coach for both GCS Track and Cross-Country running teams, leading them to multiple State Championships and being named Coach of the Year at the state and national levels. During this time they have also hosted a College Bible Study in their home where young people were taught God’s Word and fed Tara’s wonderful home cooking. The family loves outdoor activities in our beautiful state and sharing their home and food with many friends.