NY EMT remembered for 16 years of service
Joseph V. Russo would go on to win the award for Staten Island’s “EMT of the Year” in 2015
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Like many, Joseph V. Russo heard the call.
Dedicated to helping anyone at any time, the beloved emergency medical technician made a lasting impact on the community, as evidenced by the dozens of colleagues who lined up outside Bedell-Pizzo Funeral Home in Tottenville Tuesday morning in a final salute during his funeral.
Russo, 57, who worked at Staten Island University Hospital for 16 years, was inspired to help people after the tragic events of Sept. 11 and began his life of service, said his long-time partner Maria Styler.
Born in Brooklyn, Russo moved to the Island and lived in Eltingville until 2013. He lived in Clark, N.J., at the time of his death.
His career in service began in Brooklyn, when he joined up to be a part of the NYPD’s Auxiliary Unit, directing traffic and overseeing big events, Styler said.
In 2003, he started out as a patient-care assistant in the Emergency Department at Staten Island University Hospital in Ocean Breeze, then became a first responder for the emergency medical service at the hospital. He transferred to the Prince’s Bay campus in 2009, while also working part-time for Priority One Ambulance for a few years.
He would go on to win the award for Staten Island’s “EMT of the Year” in 2015, Styler said.
“He absolutely loved being an EMT, he was very proud and trained several people on his ambulance as they went to school," said Styler. "At his wake, many people told me how much he helped them.”
Co-workers said that Russo worked well with all agencies and was a friend to many on Staten Island.
Styler remarked how beautiful it was that so many people that worked with Russo over the years talked about how he made such a lasting impact on them.
“He was very dedicated to treating every patient and every person that came into his care equally, regardless of where they came from," Styler said. “It was very important to him that every one he treated had the same level of care and the same respect. The support was from all over the community -- that was very overwhelming to me, to see how many co-workers remember him.”
Russo was also described as a loving father, who coached for Mid-Island Little League and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.
He passed away on June 14 in New Jersey.
©2019 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.