Officials in New York renamed a local park Tuesday in honor of deceased former New York Police Detective Luis Alvarez, who became the face of struggling 9/11 first responders after became afflicted with illness from his time at Ground Zero.
The Alvarez family and elected officials gathered in Oceanside, Long Island to unveil a newly designed park once known as the Terrell Avenue Park as a tribute. The park will now be known as the Detective Luis G. Alvarez Memorial Park.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran pushed to rename the park after Alvarez shortly after he died in 2019 from cancer.
“It means so much that we’re able to dedicate this park, this little patch of green less than a mile from his home, to a fallen American hero whose altruism ranged from his bravery on the job during 9/11, and of course, to his dying day,” Curran said.
The former NYPD bomb-squad detective was diagnosed with the disease in 2016 and underwent 53 rounds of chemotherapy. He was 53 when he passed away.
Alaine Alvarez helped design the park space dedicated to her husband.
“It warms my heart to know that Lou made such a difference to so many others who also lost a loved one to an illness affiliated with 9/11,” Alaine Alvarez said.
The family wants the park to be a place where people can be reminded of his sacrifice.
“We continue to get these beautiful opportunities to honor my brother,” Phil Alvarez said. “And it is heartfelt. It is heartfelt that he is never forgotten.”
Alvarez died two weeks after an emotional testimony on Capitol Hill alongside former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart to urge lawmakers to renew the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
“I have been to many places in this world and done many things, but I can tell you that I did not want to be anywhere else but Ground Zero when I was there,” Alvarez testified. “Now the 9/11 illnesses have taken many of us, and we are all worried about our children, our spouses and our families and what happens if we are not here.”
Stewart made headlines for blasting lawmakers who failed to attend the hearing. Congress overwhelmingly passed the law, which extends through 2092.
The fund had been slated to run out in 2020 and would have impacted nearly 95,000 first responders.