Michael A. Russo
Memorial Scholarship Fund
At our inaugural Gala in 2021, we presented two awards - the "Smile On" award and the "'Appreciation" Award to members of the community in Michael's memory.
"Smile On" Award
Khako (Serg) Khanukayev
“Smile on” our foundation created this award to Present to someone who processes the same qualities that Michael had. Michael was a giving soul, when people encountered him they left feeling better about themselves, his smile was contagious, his personality was huge, he lit up rooms with it. He loved helping people. When ever someone needed a pick up in their day he was there for them, his family, friends and even strangers.
It was created to honor someone who possesses these same qualities and to keep Michael’s memory alive. This is the name we gave our foundation’s award because it describes Michael perfectly. It will be presented by our foundation to people who possess the same qualities as Michael.
The recipient of our first award never left us and even when he did he was doing things for our family. Driving Jessica to doctors appointments, taking her back and forth to University Hospital, driving to PA in a torrential rain storm to the Shine of Saint Padre Pio, a 4 1/2 hours round trip. Then from there he drove to Fairview to pick up Father Peter Sticco to take him to University Hospital to have Father Peter anoint Michael with Blessed holy oils, water and a cloth that was placed on a relic of Saint Padre Pio. The recipient of our inaugural award was Khako(Serg) Khanukayev, he was non stop in his kindness. He would also pick up Father Brian of Saint Anthony’s in Hackensack for his frequent visits with Michael. There was really nothing he didn’t do for us. So in honor of Michael’s memory we created this award “Smile On” and Serg will be a great ambassador of this inaugural award. Not just for what he did and still does for our family and foundation but what he does for everyone.
Cliffside Park Mayor Thomas Calabrese and the Borough Council
Michael Loved his life, his Family, His Friends, traveling, Dunkin Donuts telling stories, helping People and of course the town of Cliffside Park.
When Michael was sick the town showed how much they loved Michael with their kindness, and Compassion they gave our family. Unfortunately Michael Never made it back to Cliffside Park, the town he loved, was so proud to be from, and worked in. While Michael was at work in the records bureau people who encountered him left borough hall feeling better about themselves. We were so honored that they Dedicated the Cliffside Park Police Department’s Records Bureau in his name. The Mayor and council was there for us in our darkest time. Their love and caring for Michael and our family touched our hearts. They stood with us through the entire time, from August 11, 2021 right up until today. This is why our first appreciation award was presented to Mayor Calabrese and the Borough Council.