Park renamed in honor of Luis Alvarez, Ground Zero hero

It was a bittersweet and emotional day for Alaine Alvarez as she stood inside the newly renamed and refurbished Detective Luis G. Alvarez Memorial Park in Oceanside.

"Now more than ever we must hold on to hope," Alaine Alvarez said at the dedication of the park's new name.

The small park on Terrell Avenue is less than a mile from where Luis Alvarez lived with his family.

"A place where one can come and reflect about life, to find a sense of peace, clarity and connection with nature," Alaine Alvarez said.

Luis Alvarez, a retired NYPD Bomb Squad detective, died in June 2019. His death was the result of a long battle with cancer stemming from his heroic work at Ground Zero after 9/11. His mother Aida, who struggles every day to heal from her loss, is grateful that with this park her son's legacy will live on.

"When you are in a positive environment you feel good, so I hope everyone will feel good coming here," Aida Alvarez said. 

Alvarez was also a leading champion for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. This park unveiling comes as the deadline to register for the fund approaches at the end of July, after it had been extended. 

Lt. Mark Torre, the commanding officer of the NYPD's bomb squad, spent 60 days working at ground zero after 9/11. The nightmare forever etched in his mind. He told FOX 5 NY how the pandemic has affected the 9/11 community.

"It's an added impetus and an added concern to 9/11 responders because we hear all the talk of comorbidities," Torre said. "And a lot of us have different ailments and things, which no one really knows how might be significantly impacted, negatively impacted by the introduction of the whole COVID."

While this park is dedicated to Luis Alvarez, his brother said Alvarez was always fighting for everyone else and would have wanted this park to honor all 9/11 victims and first responders. A true testament to the selfless hero he was.

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