OAKLAND, N.J. — Thomas “Chopper” Russo of Oakland has been giving back for as long as he can remember.
Growing up in parochial schools, “it just seemed like a natural thing to do,” the realtor said.
For 12 years, Russo was the chairman of the Don Bosco Prep Alumni Association.
He has sat on the Don Bosco Prep Board of Trustees and has been chairman of the advisory board at Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge. He is currently on the Oakland Education Foundation and is chair of Oakland Public Events.
Russo might be most well-known for his real estate company, Chopper Russo Real Estate Group.
“You can’t take, take, take,” Russo said. “Our whole group’s mantra is to give back.”
This past May, the group hosted its 5th annual pet adoption day for the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge.
Russo and his colleagues are preparing for their 2nd annual Choptoberfest, slated for Oct. 9 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Oakland.
The event is aimed at bringing the borough’s residents and organizations together.
He hopes others will follow in his footsteps.
“The whole idea behind Choptoberfest is to get more people involved,” Russo said.
Over the years, Russo has been approached to help different groups, and he wants other residents to get to know these organizations too.
“I basically and literally put all of these organizations under one tent for one day,” Russo said.
People can ask questions, and “get a sense of the direction of the group and if it corresponds with their likes and dislikes and what they believe in,” he said.
At the event, the Chopper Russo Real Estate Group provides food like hamburgers and hotdogs and family fun – like an inflatable bouncy house and costumed characters.
For Russo, it is all about getting more people involved in the community and encouraging others to give back.
“The more, the merrier,” he said.