By Suzannah Solomon Wilson
If your child has ever participated in youth league sports here in Tallassee, or sent in an entry to the Artistic Expressions coloring contest, or joined in on the 2019 night-time swimming program at the Tallassee pool, then you have probably met Andrus Love.
Andrus is the director of a non-profit called SOAR, INC. which stands for Serving Others, Accepting Responsibility. It was his “brainchild,” and he has taken that idea and nurtured it into a thriving community action organization.
He’s been giving back to his community for several years, and now friends and family members hope the community will step forward and help Andrus and his family while he battles lymphoblastic lymphoma leukemia, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Andrus is currently at UAB Hospital undergoing his first rounds of treatment, and he will be there for about four weeks, which means he won’t be home for Christmas.
The costs for treatment are going to be astronomical, even with insurance, so many friends and family have stepped up to help.
The first live fundraising event will be this Saturday, December 19th, in the grassy area beside 1220 Café. Santa Claus will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for “Drive Up Selfies with Santa.” Simply drive up, park your car, bring your family and take a selfie with Santa. The minimum donation asked is $5.00 per car.
Even if you’re camera-shy, you can still drop a donation off. Cash and checks will be accepted. Checks should be made out to Andrus Love. All of the proceeds will go directly to Andrus Love and his family.
Some local folks will also be having a Holiday Market with items such as Christmas decorations and wreaths to sell. The Holiday Market will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In case of inclement weather, the organizers have a strategy for keeping everyone dry while still social distancing and keeping everyone safe.
Tammy Merrett and Margaret McLeod are organizing the effort to make Christmas the best ever for the Love’s children, and any donations should be taken to the Tallassee Rec. Department.
Additonally, there is a GoFundMe page that his brother set up under the name, the name is “Help Support Andrus Love and Family.” Monica Spencer is also organizing an early January raffle, and you can purchase bows at Talisi Florist to display outside, with the proceeds benefiting Andrus.
Family pic at the State Capitol Building
In addition to SOAR, Inc,, Andrus is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Southern Union State Community College. He is a 1995 graduate of Reeltown High School, where he served as Vice President of the Student Council, was elected Mr. RHS, and excelled in basketball, baseball, and football; in which he holds a punting record of 67 yards. Andrus holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology & Counseling (Troy University, 2011) and a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice (UAB, 2001).
His work experience includes Juvenile Probation, Electronic Monitoring, Counseling and Case Management affiliated with Department of Youth Services and Department of Human Resources, Mental Health Activity Therapist affiliated with Alabama Department of Corrections (incarcerated adults), Adult Group Home/Residential Treatment and Clinical Health Management.
Andrus has served as Former Chairperson of the Macon County Head Start Program and President of the Male Initiative Program. He has continually mentored youth and young adults within the counties of Tallapoosa, Macon, Elmore, Lee, Chambers and Montgomery. Andrus is the author of several books, and is often sought as a panel guest or motivational speaker. Additionally, he has served many years as a volunteer coach of soccer and baseball.
Of all his accomplishments and accolades received, Mr. Love is most passionate about the work he does through SOAR, INC. His program serves people of all ages, but particularly focuses on making young people into responsible, caring adults.
In addition to his “Artistic Expressions” competition, he has coordinated gun safety classes, fishing trips, a summer swimming and feeding program at the Tallassee pool, an “Ask Andrus” online discussion session, and many clean up days for elderly people and single mothers.
In September, he announced a lifeline for suicide prevention, and in October some of his young chefs participated in a chili sampling at the rec. department.
Even while he is at UAB, he is still helping others. With some assistance, Christmas dinner is being delivered to a family of four.
His office on Parker Street includes a snack center and science place, a game room and book center, and an art wall. He’s always available to discuss any topic.
Andrus is the son of U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant (Retired) Charlie Love and Cassandra Love, RN (Retired). He has two siblings, U.S. Air Force Colonel Antonio Love, and Adrienne Love, who is a school-teacher. He is married to a loving wife, Beatrice Love, whom he affectionately calls his rock, and has 4 children and 3 step-children.
Andrus Love’s motto is “1 Love, 1 Life, 1 Lesson.” Now it’s our turn to take that motto into action.
For more information on any of the fundraisers, or to make a donation, call Tammy Merrett at 334-415-9939, Jennifer Jarvis at 334-415-3635, Dale Padgett at 334-415-5781, or Suzannah Solomon Wilson at 334-399-8029 or Monica Spenser at 334-235-0388.