NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A retired New York City police captain has died just days after releasing an emotional video about his time at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks.
Barry Galfano, 57, died Sunday after having fought brain, lung and liver cancer. Galfano served on the NYPD for 25 years and retired as capain in 2006.
In the YouTube video, which was released on behalf of the Captains Endowment Association, Galfano discussed the blessings his illness afforded him.
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“No matter how much time I have left on this Earth, I know I’m going to leave knowing my family better than I would have had I lived ninety years,” he said.
Just three weeks before Sept. 11, 2011, Galfano joined the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit. He spent nearly every day at Ground Zero for three months following 9/11 and said he knew the air was likely toxic.
“I knew things things are not healthy for me,” he said. “I’m saying to myself ’20 years from now, I’m going to wind up with lung cancer or something.'”
Yet he never questioned why he was there.
Captain’s union president Roy Richter visited Galfano on Friday.
“Despite the severity of his illness, he was still fighting,” said Richter.
Richter says Galfano exemplified the Emergency Services Unit.
“Barry knew no obstacle he could not overcome,” said Richter.
Galfano’s story is all too common.
“There’s, unfortunately, many, many more that are sick and dying,” said Richter.
Galfano is survived by his three sons, daughter and two grandchildren.