A courageous retired NYPD captain who was among the first responders at ground zero and toiled there for nine months after the attacks died Sunday, just three days after unveiling an emotional video about developing cancer. Barry Galfano was 57 years old.
Galfano, of Brentwood, Long Island, was first diagnosed with brain, lung and liver cancer in 2008, reports the Daily News. He had battled various medical problems stemming from his time spent working at the toxic site since 2006.
In the eight-minute video, Galfano, a former biology teacher, explains he joined the force in 1981 because he “didn’t like sitting behind a desk.”
The heroic father of three joined the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit only three weeks before terrorists flew two planes into the Twin Towers.
“I knew the world had changed, and I was gonna be in the middle of it,” he said of 9/11. “I was never that scared in my life.”
Galfano’s son, Dan, described his father as a life-long runner who continued to participate in charity events even after his diagnosis. He also told the News his father initially hesitated to create the moving video about his experience, but ultimately was very proud of the final product.
The video was posted on YouTube and the Captains Endowment Association’s website.
Captains Endowment Association President Roy Richter described Galfano as a “hero among heroes.”
“Barry left this world with honor, courage and determination, and fought to the end,” Richter told the News.