2023 Person of the Year
The Middle Smithfield Township 2023 Person of the Year was Russell Fisher, for his work with the St. John's Knights of Columbus and Valor. The finalists were Dr. Marilyn Brown and Sue Mahusky. An independent panel of judges selected the three finalists from all those nominated for Middle Smithfield Township’s annual Person of the Year award. The judges announced the MST Person of the Year at the Volunteer Appreciation Banquet on January 19, 2024.
The Person of the Year and the two finalists receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively, toward their cause or a cause of their choice.
2023 Person of the Year
Russ Fisher is no stranger to serving the communities in which he has lived, and he has served them well thus far. Raising his family in the Brodheadsville area in the west end of the Poconos, he became heavily involved in raising monies that created recreational areas for the Chestnuthill Township Parks System. Over the course of 11 years, running trails, an all-purpose field, sand volleyball courts, basketball courts, pavilions, and playground areas for children were built. Russ was instrumental in bringing about the installation of the first handicapped-accessible playground to be built in Monroe County in 1998. And, when 911 hit, Russ’s Park Committee joined the cause and added $19,000.00 to the funds being collected for Monroe County families of loved ones killed in NYC.
Serving his community in times of trouble continued when, within six months of moving here and joining the Church of St. John in 2019, COVID-19 hit and hit hard. As COVID restrictions eased in
late 2021, Russ found himself ready to jump into action to serve his church. He did this by sanitizing the church after every in-person mass, filling in where needed as an Usher, Music Ministry leader, etc. Then, in April of 2022, Fr. Greg asked the Knights of Columbus to reconnect with the Valor Clinical Foundation as the church’s relationship with this Partner in Mission was severed in the wake of the pandemic. Russ contacted Valor and set up the Knights’ first service experience in Stand Down, where volunteers feed the homeless veterans that live in the East Stroudsburg area in Dansbury Park on the second Sunday of every month.
Russ also takes pride in the fact that he serves St. John’s other Partners in Mission: Safe Monroe, MC Pregnancy Resource Center, Mady’s Angels, and Bushkill Outreach, any way he can. Today, Mr. Fisher and the Knights are actively raising funds for a Food Trailer to serve the homeless in our local communities and beyond.
Russ owes all of his success to the love and support from his beautiful wife, Kathy, his three loving daughters, his family and friends, his Brothers of the Knights of Columbus, and most especially to Fr. Greg, Analia, and Lorraine of the Church of St. John.
Dr. Marilyn Brown
Mrs. Dr. Marilyn M. Brown has resided in Middle Smithfeild Township for the last 10 years. She is an active member of First Baptist Church of East Stroudsburg. She is the CEO of Mrs. Dr. Marilyn M. Brown LLC, a consultation company that facilitates workshops and promotes spiritual, emotional, and academic education. She is a community activist. While living in Staten Island, New York, she founded Girl Scout Troop #5363; the first GS Troop within Staten Island to have a woman of color as a troop leader. In 2008 she was the first person of color to serve as NYS Delegate at the 51st GS National Convention. Having been raised in a single-parent household, Mrs. Dr. Brown has a deep passion for children as well as single parents.
Mrs. Dr. Marilyn M. Brown graduated with a Regents Diploma from Curtis High School in 1992. She earned her undergraduate degree in Child Psychology from CUNY Medgar Evers College. She is a two-time alum of Touro University where she is now a professor in the Special Education Department. She attended Touro University where she earned two dual Master of Science Degrees in Special Education, Childhood Education, School Building, and School Leadership; all of which she holds certifications for. Mrs. Dr. Marilyn M. Brown earned her Doctorate in Special Education from North Central University with an emphasis on childhood and adolescent trauma and PTSD. She counsels adults and children who have suffered traumas due to sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, as she is a #metoo survivor.
Mrs. Dr. Brown made history in 2021 when she was elected as 1rst Vice President of the Greater Pocono Section of National Council of Negro Women while also having been elected as 1rst Vice President of the East Pocono Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She is a chartering member of the East Stroudsburg University NCNW Section. Mrs. Dr. Brown also serves as the Co-Chair to the Eastern Region Conflict Resolution Committee of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, as well as a member of the NCNW National Health Equity Committee. Mrs. Dr. Brown has been appointed and employed with the New York City Public School System for the last nineteen years.
For the past three years she has chaired the Monroe County Read Across Ameirca event, an event that promotes reading and high order thinking for the youth in Monroe and Pikes Counties (She would like you to know the next Read Across America will be heldo on Saturday, March 30 at the Hughes Library.). Mrs. Dr. Brown is a member of the board of directors of the Broadheadsville Watershed Association, a member of the Middle Smithfeild Township Parks and Recreation Committee, a member of the League of Women Voters, and serves on the Country Club of the Poconos HOA Social Committee and Hospitality Committee. She believes when you call a place your H.O.M.E., you are under obligation to use your God-given talents to serve that community.
She is happily in love and in like to her husband and forever dance partner, David S. Brown for the past thirteen years. Most importantly, she asks if you remember anything about her is that she would not be where she is today without God and an education. Her motto is “the pain is never in vain.”
Sue Mahusky was born in Frankfurt Germany in 1958 came to the US with her parents in 1959. Her US Army father was stationed in California, Kansas, and Georgia and finally in New York. Sue was raised with her younger brother and sister. She developed a strong work ethic helping her father in the family restaurant in Newburgh, New York.
After graduation Sue began her 30-year career as a home health nurse where she cared for the elderly in their homes. This took place while her three children were in school, during her 26-year marriage. Sue remarried in 2006 and her new husband and her daughter, moved from Ulster County to Sullivan County, New York. Then in 2011 Sue and her husband relocated to Hershey, Pennsylvania. In 2020 Sue was in a car accident that ended her career, so she decided to move to the Poconos in 2022, to be closer to her family. Upon settling down in the Poconos, she started helping her daughter raise a three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter. In late 2022, she met a volunteer from Angel's and Dragonflies.
Angels and Dragonflies started to assist families that were raising kids due to the addictions. That touched close to home since Sue lost a son due to addiction and she wanted to do something in honor of his memory. It was after she decided to do volunteer work at Angel's and Dragonflies where she met Sherry Scott, founder of the children's charity. Her strengths are securing donations and coordinating receipts of materials called for area families and their children and planning events. In December 2023, Sue was voted in as executor director.
From helping the elderly to helping families in need, Sue would say that her passion for helping others, is her calling. Her other interest include bowling at Sky lanes, attending functions at the Moose Lodge, cooking and gardening. Sue and her husband also have a Home remodeling business, where she does secretarial work. She also takes pride in caring for her children and four grandchildren.
About the Judges:
An independent panel of judges volunteered to select the finalists:
- Dr. Precie Schroyer - Associate Dean, NCC
- Patrice Dume - Economic Development & Entrepreneurship, ESU
- Debbie Kulick - 2022 Person of the Year Finalist
- Father Gregory Reichlen - Church of St. John
- Louis Santiago - 2019 Person of the Year Finalist
- Francis Oquendo - 2018 Person of the Year Finalist
- Debra Raneri - Director of Community Partnerships, NCC
- Thomas Gansel - 2017 Person of the Year Finalist