OCEANSIDE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Nearly 20 years since the Sept. 11 attack In New York City, the death toll continues to rise as cancers from World Trade Center toxic dust claims more lives.

On Tuesday, one of the most recognizable of 9/11 first responders was remembered with a special honor, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

In the heart of his home town of Oceanside, a park was named for a New York hero.

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Luis Alvarez‘s name and face were the embodiment of Big Apple determination, when, riddled with cancer, the NYPD detective tirelessly battled for 9/11 first responders.

Retired New York Police Department detective and 9/11 responder Luis Alvarez testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill on June 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

His widow, Lainie Alvarez, worked with Nassau County to make a once-forgotten pocket park a place to heal the mind and soul.

“A peaceful place, a place that can fill you up with good stuff and just stay present,” Lainie said. “My son comes here every day. This is a place where he can find peace with his father’s passing.”

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It’s always time to reflect on the here and now at Detective Luis G. Alvarez Memorial Park and what he did for thousands of victims’ families.

“To have what they need and to have an example of what humanity is all about. I am at peace,” said Aida Alvarez, Luis’ mother.

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Thanks in part to Luis Alvarez, the compensation fund to help first responders who get sick from World Trade Center toxins was extended from 2020 until 2090.

“He only became a warrior because he knew it would help other people, not for recognition, not for people to remember his name. He always said, ‘Just remember the victims,'” brother Phil Alvarez said.

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Luis’ legacy also lives on in his rookie NYPD cop nephew.

“When he graduated, the academy … they gave him my brother’s shield number,” Phil Alvarez said.

“It’s a big legacy to carry, but I’m trying,” Michael Alvarez added.

The park is designed to be a tranquil place.

“Just to sit, reflect, look around and just remember what life is all about. It’s not about the things that we have. It’s about the things we can pass on,” Lainie Alvarez said.

And the people we love.

The NYPD on Tuesday also named a bomb-sniffing dog in his honor. Luis Alvarez worked on the department’s Bomb Squad.

Carolyn Gusoff