During their undergraduate days at Johnston High school, Robert V. Russo and Gary Salzillo sat next to each other in homeroom.
Since those days of yesteryear, Russo and Salzillo have gone on to distinguish their alma mater in many different ways.
Russo is an accomplished and highly-respected attorney who has served n the Johnston Town Council – mostly as the five-member group’s president – and been part of Mayor Joseph Polisena’s impressive economic development throughout the town.
Salzillo has taken a different route, first being a super successful businessman who owns and operates Northeast Auto Body that has served as a super sports sponsor for numerous youth teams in town throughout the years.
Moreover, he was one of only three individual who donated an electric scoreboard-clock that now adorns a wall inside the state-of-the art Johnston Indoor Recreation Center at 1741 Atwood Avenue.
However, what Russo and Salzillo did recently speaks volumes about how much the JHS alums care about the students at their alma mater, most notably the boys and girls track teams.
During a recent ceremony at Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Stadium, which is surrounded by the best track surface in Rhode Island, Russo and Salzillo presented each and every member of both track teams with a spiffy pullover jacket replete with embroidered lettering and the Panther mascot.
“It was a pleasure being able to give back to my high school,” Russo, the Town Council prexy, began. “Track is dear to my heart, as I am an avid runner and was impressed with the size of this year’s (track and field) team. It is not always easy for school organizations to get the funding to buy some of the products they need, so it was a good felling to be able to join Gary (Salzillo) and purchase the team jerseys.”
Russo, who has participated in a number or road races throughout the state, went on noting, "This will provide pride to the children representing their school and displaying their participation in team sports. Gary and I are both Johnston High School alumni and this is a small token of appreciation from the Class of 1983.
Salzillo, Russo later related, actually ordered and designed the jackets, something he has done consistently during his time as president of the always well-dressed Johnston Youth Football and Cheerleading program that is well known for its impressive uniforms.
Salzillo has purchased all kinds of sports apparel from Elmwood Sports in Cranston and has become well-known for insisting his teams are the bet dressed in the state.