By Jeremy Walsh
“If anybody takes anything away from this, I just hope that maybe people will [be] aware of their neighbors,” said Kim Russo. “Today you don't know your neighbors anymore. Nobody keeps an eye on people.”Russo, a mother of three who teaches toddlers at Maspeth Town Hall Community Center, had returned from shopping with her mother, June Johnson, last Thursday, when she noticed mail and newspapers were accumulating on the steps of Rose Schwing, Johnson's next-door neighbor.”She goes out and then she comes back. She doesn't really go places,” Russo said. “I just felt like something was wrong. I just kept calling her and ringing the bell, and finally I looked into the window and I saw her.”Schwing, who lives alone, had evidently fallen and hit her head. From the number of newspapers on the stoop, Russo guessed Schwing had been trapped in her home for three days.Russo and a neighbor tried prying open a window to get inside, but had no luck.”I kind of just panicked,” she said. “I just got a bolt of energy and started banging the door with my shoulder.”After a few bumps, the lock popped out and Russo and her brother rushed in, she said. They covered Schwing with a blanket and called 911.Schwing, who was planning on having an Easter dinner with relatives, was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where she was listed in fair condition Monday. Schwing declined to speak to the press, a hospital official said.Russo, who grew up next door to Schwing, said her neighbor has lived in the home her entire life.”She's so nice,” she said. “Whenever she sees us, she comes out and says 'hello.' My mother's known her since they were kids playing in the alley together.”News of Russo's feat was received with pleasure but not surprise at Maspeth Town Hall.”It sounds like something she would do,” said co-worker Cathy Triebe. “We said, 'That's Kim.' “Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.