In a deeply moving ceremony held last Wednesday, the FDNY came together to honor the memory of EMS Capt. Alison Russo, who tragically lost her life in the line of duty just last year. In Astoria, Queens, hundreds of fellow department members, as well as Russo’s family and friends, gathered to pay their respects to a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to serving and safeguarding her community.
The ceremony began with a heartfelt plaque dedication inside EMS Station 49, where Capt. Russo had served diligently. This touching tribute was followed by the official renaming of 42nd Street, between 19th and 20th avenues, which will now forever be known as “Alison Russo Way.”
FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh beautifully summed up Capt. Russo’s spirit, saying, “For anyone who asks who this street was named after, the stories will be plentiful. A hardworking public servant who responded to the World Trade Center attacks. A highly skilled rescue paramedic. A fearless woman.” These words painted a vivid picture of the dedicated and fearless woman who gave her all to her city.
Capt. Russo, at the age of 61, was on duty at Station 49 on that fateful day, September 29, 2022, when she was tragically attacked near her station’s headquarters. Her alleged attacker, Peter Zisopoulos, 34, was charged with murder, and his trial is pending. However, Commissioner Kavanaugh emphasized that this heinous act should not define Alison Russo.
During the ceremony, Commissioner Kavanaugh celebrated Capt. Russo’s extraordinary 25-year career with the FDNY, which included her service during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and her dedication during the challenging days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Capt. Russo’s commitment extended beyond her work at the FDNY; she also volunteered for 30 years with the Huntington Community First Aid Squad on Long Island.
Commissioner Kavanaugh praised her, saying, “She was caring, she was thoughtful, and she was smart. She spent her time volunteering both on and off duty because emergency medical work was her passion.”
Capt. Russo’s dedication to her profession and community was so profound that she was posthumously promoted to captain. Deputy Chief Brady fondly remembered their partnership, highlighting her remarkable ability to assess patients even in the most challenging situations, all while working alongside her fellow FDNY first responders.
Not far from where the tragic incident took place, the owner of a building, who happened to be a retired EMS from Capt. Russo’s station house, commissioned a mural in her honor. “The community where she worked and helped all these people, everyone knew her in this community, so it was just a great honor to do something for her,” said retired EMS William Zaccari.
Through the plaque and street renaming, Capt. Alison Russo’s parents and daughter hope that her life of service will serve as a lasting reminder to everyone who passes by. Her unwavering commitment to her work, her community, and the well-being of others will forever be celebrated on “Alison Russo Way” in Astoria, Queens.