Long Island remembers FDNY hero who lost battle to cancer

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HICKSVILLE -

Long Islanders are remembering a hero firefighter and father from Hicksville who passed away Sunday after battling cancer for several years.

Ray Pfeifer was a 27-year FDNY veteran who spent eight months working on the pile at Ground Zero in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

Pfeifer was a giant in the fight to secure health care funding for the first responders battling 9/11-related illnesses.

Recently, he joined other first responders to help successfully lobby Congress to pass and then renew the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

"Ray truly was a hero. Ray was a patriot. He didn't invent patriotism, he perfected it. I think there's a word out there for Ray Pfeifer that hasn't been invented yet, because Ray knew his pain and suffering, and Ray knew today would come. But Ray put aside his own pain and suffering to help tens and thousands of other people," says John Feal, of the Fealgood Foundation.

In recent years, Pfeifer received keys to New York City and Nassau County for his work.

Pfeifer was 59 years old.

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