OCEANSIDE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A hero was honored Monday on what would have been his 55th birthday.
Earth was moved for the man who moved so many with his undying devotion to helping others, Retired NYPD Det. and former Marine Luis Alvarez.
Alaine Alvarez fought tears speaking of her late husband at the groundbreaking.
“He was just a wonderful man all around,” she said.
Luis worked for months at Ground Zero, searching through toxic rubble. Sixteen years later, he was diagnosed with 9/11-related colorectal cancer and battled for three years.
From his hospice room, he continued to speak out.
“As long as God gives me the time, I’ll be here advocating,” he said.
“I should not be here with you, but you made me come,” he said.
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Luis benefitted from the Victim’s Compensation Fund. He used his final breaths on this earth to ensure other first responders would too.
“You all said you’d never forget. Well, I’m here to make sure that you don’t,” he said.
“It’s my brother’s 55th birthday today,” said Phil Alvarez.
Instead of celebrating with Luis by their side, the family gathered with Nassau County leaders at Terrell Avenue Park in Oceanside — Alvarez’s hometown. It is the future site of Detective Luis G. Alvarez Memorial Park.
“How lucky are we now to have this beautiful little patch of county land where people come and reflect on him, on his service, his legacy and life,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
“My brother talked about taking care of each other, taking care of yourselves. We hope this park helps with this mission,” Phil Alvarez said.
The park will not just be renamed, but transformed. Alaine dreamed up the design. Soon you’ll spot swings, a meditation labyrinth, a space she hopes will be filled with “good vibes, good people, and good thoughts,” she said.
It’s a memorial park for all to enjoy while never forgetting the sacrifice made by Luis G. Alvarez.
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