FedEx Express plane named in honor of St. Jude patient

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Applause rained down as Reid Russel revealed the spot where his name will be carried on the FedEx Cessna Caravan that will travel across the country and continent.

Now three years in remission from cancer, the plane will carry not only Russel’s name, but also his legacy and story.

“They can tell his story throughout an international world, not just the U.S. It’s amazing that they truly embrace the cause,” Russel’s family member said.

“You see him here today, healthy, just super excited about seeing his on the side of an airplane. I mean, how many people have our name on the side of an airplane? It’s a really cool day,” Alsac CEO Rick Shadyac said.

FedEx and St. Jude hosted a handful of purple eagles from previous years. Although everyone at the event was celebrating their good health, there was a sense of gratitude as well.

“You can’t possible thank these people enough. I mean, they saved our son’s life, and they’re saving lives every day in the hospital. So if there’s any way possible, it’s to go home and give back as much as we can,” Russel’s family member said.

For the two local titans who team up and make the purple eagle tradition happen, they’re hoping the tradition will continue to grow.

“If we can shine a little light on kids’ lives and help just improve their overall quality, that’s what we’re all about,” Bill West, Vice President of FedEx Express said.

“This is just an outgrowth of that incredible, generous spirit that is Memphis, Tennessee. I see it on display everyday, but this is when we get to shine the real spotlight on how great our community is here,” Shadyac said.

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