CNN — A 9/11 first responder is asking New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to posthumously honor Luis Alvarez, who advocated for an extension of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, with a key to New York City.
“In 2015, when we got (the fund’s legislation) passed and two years ago when we lost Ray Pfeifer, who was the face of the movement back then, I asked New York City and the mayor to give Ray the key to New York City. So I’m asking Mayor de Blasio to give Luis the key to New York City,” John Feal, a 9/11 first responder and advocate, told CNN’s John Berman and Alisyn Camerota Monday on “New Day.”
Alvarez, a retired NYPD bomb squad detective, died on Saturday at age 53 from complications of cancer linked to the time he spent with other first responders in the rubble at Ground Zero.
Nearly three weeks before his passing, Alvarez testified in a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing for an extension of the fund for police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers who became ill after laboring at the site of the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks. His impassioned appeal received a standing ovation that day.
Feal, who has also advocated for the fund’s extension, said on Monday that “we got to remember and honor (Alvarez’s) legacy and not let his passing be in vein.”
CNN has reached out to de Blasio about Feal’s request.
Pfeifer, who died in 2017 from cancer linked to the time he spent at the disaster site, was honored with a key to New York City “for his work to pass the Zadroga Bill providing health care to 9/11 first responders, survivors, and recovery workers,” de Blasio’s office said in a tweet at the time.
The Zadroga Act, signed by President Barack Obama in 2011, expanded health coverage and compensation to first responders and those individuals who developed 9/11-related health problems.