Fallen Hero’s Wife Finds New Friend
Transit Policemen Bring NYPD K9 To Glendale Home
The wife of a Glendale police officer who died in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 was overcome with joy as she her family members met of a black Labrador retriever from the NYPD Transit Bureau’s K-9 Unit named in the fallen officer’s honor.
Carmen Suarez, widow of the late P.O. Ramon Suarez of Transit District 4, welcomed Lt. John Pappas and P.O. Horatio Maldonado to her Glendale home on Saturday, June 25. The officers brought the two-year-old Rae to the outdoor gathering and described her main duty of searching New York City subway stations for explosives in the effort of identifying suicide bombers.
The well behaved canine relished the attention and proudly posed for countless photos with neighbors.
Suarez and her 18-year-old daughter, Jillian, couldn’t help but conjure up memories of the departed father of three when greeting the imposing, but gentle dog. She described the fear and pain she felt when receiving word that her husband was missing in the hours after the World Trade Center attacks 10 years ago.
“I didn’t know he was missing until 3:30 that afternoon. I was told he was missing, but I didn’t believe he was gone. I was hoping and praying he would be found, but unfortunately he wasn’t,” recalled Carmen Suarez, adding that she regularly makes trips out to Suarez’s grave at St. Raymond’s Cemetery in Bronx.
The 14-year NYPD veteran reportedly sprang into action upon hearing about the attack that early September morning while working at the Delancey Street subway station. He commandeered a taxi cab and drove to the Twin Towers. He was last seen assisting people out of one of the buildings that eventually came crashing down on top of him.
Suarez’s remains were recovered in December by first responders during the recovery effort. During the Annual Medal Day ceremony held that same month, Suarez was awarded a Medal of Honor for sacrificing his life to help people escape the unforgiving flames resulting from the terrorist invasion.
In another ceremony, held Sept. 9, 2005, Officer Suarez and all other public safety officers killed on Sept. 11, 2001 were posthumously the recipients of 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor presented by then-President GeorgeW. Bush.
“What I remember most about him was his laugh and his zest for life,” said Carmen Suarez, who was married to Ramon for 10 years. “He wanted to help people. He felt that he wanted to do something right…he wore his uniform with a lot of pride.”
While Carmen typically holds a family barbecue at her Glendale home every September to commemorate her dearly departed husband, this year she will be making a special trip to Ground Zero in Manhattan’s Wall Street area to mark the 10th anniversary of the disaster.
Officer Suarez’s dedication and bravery weren’t forgotten by the Glendale and Ridgewood communities, as both the intersection of Catalpa and Woodward avenues and P.S. 239, which opened in 2003, were named in his honor.
Through the years, friends and colleagues have described him as kind-hearted, fearless and the ultimate family man who went the extra mile to ensure safety within New York City’s subway system.
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