COMMACK, N.Y. — First responders saluted as FDNY EMS Lt. Alison Russo’s casket was carried from the medical examiner’s office and escorted in a solemn procession to a funeral home in Commack on Friday.
Russo, in addition to working for the FDNY, served her home community of Huntington as a volunteer EMT and paramedic for decades.
CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff spoke with family and friends who are grappling with Russo’s shocking and violent death.
In a show of respect and sorrow, community members lined the streets leading to Commack Abbey Funeral Home and flags across Huntington were lowered in tribute to a woman whose mission was to save lives.
Russo volunteered with the Huntington Community First Aid Squad for three decades.
Every single one of us is shocked, to say the least,” said Katie Donegan, of the Huntington Community First Aid Squad. “I think that giving to others and service was just really her biggest love in life.”
Russo was a hero to all, especially her daughter.
“Keep my mother in your thoughts. Pray for my family and remember her for the hero that she was, because that’s truly who she was and she died doing what she loved,” said Russo’s daughter Danielle Fuoco.
At age 61, Russo logged a lifetime of service. She was a first responder at the World Trade Center, worked 12-hour days and relished the opportunity to train younger paramedics.
“She said ‘I feel like they’re my kids,'” said Russo’s friend Jackie Gardiner. “She loved her work. She was trying to make as much money as she could to 65 years old and just enjoy life.”
A retirement that was to include travel, the beach and time with friends.
Russo was known for her big, warm personality on her Huntington Station block.
“I have no words. I think this world is going crazy,” said neighbor Monica Soberal. “She survives the pandemic … and this is just, savage.”
Russo, who loved her work and loved people, was killed randomly in an unprovoked knife attack while on duty with FDNY.
“She was feisty, fiery, had just this bright, bubbly personality that just made her light up a room,” said Donegan. “A huge, huge loss.”
“A happy person and, I can’t believe it,” said neighbor Michael Larson.
She would sit out on her porch and she would talk to the people that were walking past. She knew the kids, she knew every dog’s name that passed by. She was a people person,” said Gardiner.
A note on that porch now reads, “Rest peacefully Ali. You will be so dearly missed.”
Russo is survived by her daughter, parents and brother. The first aid squad members said her legacy will live on in their hearts.
The FDNY said funeral arrangements are not yet complete.