The veteran FDNY paramedic, who was fatally stabbed in Queens, was promoted to captain posthumously at her emotional funeral service on Wednesday – as her father tore up the man responsible for the murder of his “beautiful girl.”
“This man murdered my daughter and she would be the first person to come to his aid if he ever needed help,” said Frank Fuoco, the father of Lt. Alison Russo-Elling, during an unplanned speech at the service.
“He left her on the street like a rag doll that was just thrown away,” said Fuoco, 87, referring to shocking surveillance footage of the Sept. 29 attack he stumbled across on Facebook.
“She was lying motionless on the ground when he stormed off,” the grieving father continued. “I couldn’t hear her screaming, ‘Mom! Father! Help!’ no Only God knows the horrific look on her face as he stabbed her.
“She was such a beautiful person,” Fuoco said of his daughter. “He killed her and tore a hole in our hearts and all of her colleagues.”
Thousands of first responders gathered in the rain outside the Tilles Center at the LIU Post Office in Brookville to attend the service and salute Russo’s coffin, which was being driven in an FDNY ambulance with her name on the doors.
As FDNY paramedics carried her coffin, which was draped in a red-and-white paramedic flag, the department’s bagpipes played Greensleeves while Russo-Elling’s parents, father Frank and mother Catherine Fuoco, rode behind in their wheelchairs.
Mayor Eric Adams and Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh stood nearby, hands on hearts in the fog, before following the family.
“We can’t bring her back, but today the commissioner and I are promoting her to the rank of captain. We want people to know what a brave heroine your mother your daughter was,” Adams said during the service, addressing Russo-Elling’s family.
“I feel for you. Not as a mayor, not as an elected official, but as a son of the city and as a person, as a human being. I’m sorry.”
The funeral comes after the 61-year-old was stabbed 19 times around the corner by her rescue squad in Astoria on Thursday in what police described as a senseless and unprovoked attack.
The lieutenant at the time was on duty at the time and about six months away from retirement.
“Thanks to Alison and her dedication to her job, there are still countless people alive on this planet. She took pride in her job and loved the people she worked and volunteered with,” said Russo-Elling’s brother, Craig Fuoco.
“Although her work and volunteering took up a lot of her time, she always had time for her family. She saw my parents regularly and helped them tremendously. Alison was my parents’ strength and support. My heart breaks for her,” he continued, fighting back tears, his father’s hand on his shoulder urging him to continue.
“No parent should ever have to bury their child.”
Russo-Elling’s daughter Danielle Fuoco implored others to remember her mother’s spirit and not focus on the violence that killed her.
“You must remove any hate in your heart that has been created by this sudden catastrophe. I need you to replace it with love. This is not the time to think about tragedy,” the daughter said.
“Don’t let this sudden trauma cloud your thoughts. You must replace it by honoring my mother for the hero she was. heroine that she is.”
Recalling Russo-Elling’s deep selflessness, Kavanagh said she answered over 25,000 emergency calls during her 25-year tenure.
“It may seem impossible now, but EMS makes the impossible possible every day on every call by literally giving someone a second chance at life,” said Kavanagh, who seemed to hold back tears at times, during the service.
“Captain Alison Russo defined FDNY EMS. She was caring, humble, whip smart and resilient. She quickly overcame obstacles she faced and was always up to speed or a challenge. Captain Russo did not shy away from these challenges, she accepted them. She didn’t stop at the danger, she ran toward it.”
Russo-Elling is the second Big Apple paramedic to be murdered in the past five years after EMT Yadira Arroyo was run over by her own ambulance in 2017.
Lillian Bonsignore, Chief of EMS Operations, said her death was a reminder of the dangers her first responders face every day on the job.
“That moment, that horrible and senseless moment, thundered across our nation and across our world, bringing EMS and other first responder communities to their knees as this news broke. Incomprehensible and frightening,” said Bonsignore.
“It’s impossible, and frankly unacceptable, to say that the work of EMTs isn’t as dangerous as the work of other first responders … We need the people of our city, state and country to vote for us and advocate for those.” use that you risk their lives. We need you to take care of us and we need your help. We can’t do it alone.”
She pleaded with first responders to remember Russo-Elling’s spirit as they continue the ministry to which she has dedicated her life.
“Let her words guide you. Let the sounds of our emergency response serve as a token of our memory of Captain Alison Russo,” Bonsignore said.
“Our sirens will continue to remind everyone: the best, just like Alison, are on their way.”
https://nypost.com/2022/10/05/fdny-paramedic-alison-russo-elling-laid-to-rest-in-funeral/ FDNY paramedic Alison Russo-Elling buried at funeral