Lisa Russo

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Lisa Russo is extremely involved in her Howard Beach community. An Usherette at church, for the past two years she has raised money for the Howard Beach Relay for Life by getting people to sign up and businesses to donate.

“The second year was better than the first,” said Russo, who also organized activities to raise extra money for the cause as well as entertain the children.

In addition, Russo, who has also gotten her friends involved in the community, participates in The River Fund of New York, which provides assistance to those in need.

“I try to collect coats in winter and we give them out on weekends,” she said. Her daughter, Joli, a contestant in the Miss Howard Beach Pageant, also helps out.

“I want her to know what it is like,” said Lisa. “I am teaching her to be a good humanitarian and citizen – this is my job as a parent and a human.

Russo also assists an elderly friend who is blind run errands, and helps another friend with pancreatic cancer. “I try to help people very much in need,” she said.

PERSONAL: Russo is married with one daughter, Joli. She has lived in Howard Beach nearly all her life.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Too many people in Howard Beach are getting cancer,” said Russo. Both she and her husband are currently battling the disease.

But Russo is a firm believer in a better way of life for better health.

“A challenge is trying to get people to listen to a better way of life – to change their eating habits, seek holistic as well as clinical treatments.”

Russo said she is trying to put together a “whole life expo,” and does research to find a better way for people to have a better quality of life.

FAVORITE MEMORY: “The day my daughter was born,” said a proud Russo. “Watching her fly through the air and having her put in my arms.”

INSPIRATION: Again, her daughter. “She is my drive. She gave me the will to get better. Everything I do revolves around her, she is my life.” – Tonia N. Cimino