COMMACK, NY — The dreary conditions Monday outside of the Commack Abbey Funeral Home contrasted sharply with the memory of a slain FDNY EMS lieutenant.

Person after person waiting in line for the wake of FDNY EMS Lt. Alison Russo-Elling remembered the 61-year-old woman fondly.

“Her personality never stopped,” said Tom Hogan, a friend and fellow emergency worker in the Huntington Community First Aid Squad, on Long Island. where Russo volunteered in addition to her FDNY EMS work. “Always so filled with life,” Hogan continued. “She touched so many people in so many different ways.” 

That theme of her being a sunny presence wherever she was was repeated again and again by the hundreds of people who came to the wake. 

“She was a ball of fire, inside the fire department,” said Jeanie Dempsey, a longstanding, close friend. “We’re going to miss her.”

The loss, Dempsey continued, is senseless.

“For no reason. Just a horrific accident,” she said. “Nobody can understand it.”

Peter Zisopoulos, 34, allegedly stabbed Russo-Elling more than 20 times Thursday in an apparent random attack on the street near her EMS station. 

Anthony Almojera, another friend of the slain EMS lieutenant and a vice president of the EMS workers’ union, said that she’d dedicated her life to helping a wide array of people, including people like Zisopoulos, who has struggled with schizophrenia, according to law enforcement officials. 

“He could’ve went up to her and said, ‘I’m in crisis,'” Almojera said in an interview, “and she would’ve done everything in her power to help him.”

Zisopoulos is being held in police custody while undergoing a psychiatric evaluation. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of the popular FDNY EMS supervisor’s fellow emergency workers lined up at the funeral home to pay tribute to her life and career.

She had worked in ambulances during 9/11, Superstorm Sandy, the pandemic, and almost every day in-between. She also worked with the Huntington volunteers on her days off from FDNY EMS. 

“There are hundreds of people walking this earth who have their life, thanks to Alison,” said Mike Greco, a friend, coworker, and vice president of the EMS workers’ union. “And [they] don’t even know her name.”

Her name was treated with reverence on Monday.  

Mayor Eric Adams came to the funeral home to pay his respects to Russo- Elling’s family on Monday afternoon. Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh also visited the wake. Both she and the mayor spoke with Russo’s parents, brother, and daughter there. 

“A lot of what we talked about was what a hero she was,” the acting commissioner said. “How much she has given to this city, what an impact her life made,” she continued, describing the conversation she’d had with the Russo Family. 

The wake continues on Tuesday, and Lt. Russo’s funeral will be held on Wednesday at the Tilles Center, on the campus of LIU Post in Brookville.