Happy Birthday, Vincent Russo

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Verona’s first responders and the Russo family celebrate a birthday that almost didn’t happen: (l-r) Justin Nielsen, Ricky Tempesta, Dominick Russo, Georgia Russo, Phyllisann Russo, Steve Young and Joe Clark

On June 19, 2018, Vincent Russo had a heart attack and died. Today, Thursday, January 7, he is celebrating his 80th birthday.

No, you didn’t read that wrong. Verona’s fast-acting first responders gave Vincent Russo a second chance at life.

Two and a half years ago, Russo collapsed outside his home after mowing his lawn. His grandson Dominick Russo witnessed it and called 911. Joe Clark, a neighbor who is also an EMT on the Verona Rescue Squad, heard shouting, ran over and immediately started CPR. Verona Police Office Justin Nielsen also lived nearby and ran over to assist. Ricky Tempesta, then chief of the Rescue Squad, responded, as did  Police Officer Steve Young, and they administered the defibrillator. “They were all there in seconds and the second shock brought him back,” Phyllisann Russo says of her father.

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Vincent Russo had a triple-bypass surgery after the episode and, other than achy knees, is doing fine now, says his daughter, who still marvels at what the first responders did on that summer day. “This might be normal for them,” she says, “but for us it was a miracle.”

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

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