Patriotism Spotlight: 9/11 First Responder Luis Alvarez

Patriotism Spotlight: 9/11 First Responder Luis Alvarez


Many heroes were hard at work on September 11, 2001 as well as in the days, months, and years that followed. One such hero was Luis Alvarez. The New York Police Department bomb squad detective worked alongside other first responders at Ground Zero on September 11 and throughout the weeks that followed. And, it was that time spent in the rubble that was linked to the fatal colorectal cancer that Alvarez developed.

Heroism and Patriotism of Luis Alvarez on September 11 and Onward

As a first responder taking part in the rescue and recovery efforts on September 11, Alvarez put his life on the line to help others, as he did every day on the job. In addition to being a hero as a NYPD detective, he was also a hero as an advocate for the continuation of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The VCF was created as a way to offer compensation to any individual (or to a personal representative of a deceased individual) who has suffered physical harm or died due to the September 11, 2001 airplane crashes or debris removal efforts.

Alvarez was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and passed away from complications related to the disease on June 29, 2019, but not before acting as a top advocate for the continuation of the VCF. Alvarez even appeared before Congress on June 11, 2019 to testify at the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on behalf of first responders. The purpose was to have the VCF extended so that injured individuals and those suffering from illnesses as a result of the time at Ground Zero have their medical needs covered indefinitely.

Even though he was due to have his 69th round of chemotherapy the day following his testimony, Alvarez went all the way to Washington, D.C. He took this trip to ensure that his fellow first responders currently receiving compensation, as well as the family members who had lost their loved ones as a result of 9/11, continue to receive access to those funds. And, he was successful.

The Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act became public law on July 29, 2019. This law funds the VCF through FY 2092, ensuring that funds are continually available and claims are allowed to compensate for the injuries and illnesses as a result of the tragic events of September 11.

Alvarez showed heroism and patriotism during his time as a NYPD detective and continued to help his fellow first responders years after. He strongly advocated on behalf of first responders to ensure that no one would be without assistance when dealing with the injuries and illnesses experienced as a result of 9/11. 

Thank you to Luis Alvarez and all of the other first responders. We will never forget.

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