OCEANSIDE, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday morning at a Long Island park that will be renamed for the late NYPD Det. Luis Alvarez, a first responder who helped push for the reauthorization of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
The retired NYPD Bomb Squad detective, who died in June 2019, became the face of the battle for a renewed 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, testifying before Congress just weeks before his death, with comedian Jon Stewart.
Shortly after his death, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran filed a resolution to rename Terrell Avenue Park in his hometown of Oceanside to Detective Luis G. Alvarez Memorial Park.
"This park will serve as a symbol and reminder of his sacrifice and unwavering fight for 9/11 first responders," Curran said at the time. "We hope his family, friends and the community will enjoy this tranquil neighborhood space dedicated in his honor."
On Monday, officials were at the park to officially make the change on what would have been Alvarez’s 55th birthday.
Alvarez’s family took part in the groundbreaking, which WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell captured on video.
"He would be very proud of what this park is going to look like and what this park is going to represent," said widow Lainie Alvarez.
She says that she hopes the park with be a place of reflection.
"It's just some place that people can come to and just stay in the moment and not think about the future or the past," she said.
The 9/11 hero died after contracting cancer stemming from his work at Ground Zero. His badge was given to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, shortly before the Senate approved a bill to replenish the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
The 9/11 bill was also named for Alvarez, and two others who died from 9/11-related cancers. The full name of the legislation is: “Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund Act.”