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Former NYPD Officers Honored One Of Their Own in Coral Springs



They came again to honor a retired New York City Police detective who was sickened by the 9/11-related illnesses and recently moved to Coral Springs to spend his final days with his family.

Three weeks after Coral Springs police officers and firefighters welcomed Ruben Torres to his new home, another group of first responders, this time mostly retired NYPD officers, showed up Sunday to salute the 66-year-old once more as his condition deteriorated.

“We all have blue blood – this is what we do for each other,” said Irving Rodriguez, a retired NYPD sergeant who helped organize Sunday’s gathering at the home of Torres.

The retirees walked up to the bedroom window where Torres lives, waved, and saluted him as he lay in bed under hospice care. On the street, neighbors gathered, too, clapping and cheering.

“He opened his eyes and waved back,” said Mike Higgins, the brother-in-law of Torres. “It was an incredible show of love and support.”

Rodriguez — who owns the Gyroville restaurant in Coral Springs with his wife, Maria (also an NYPD retiree) — initially planned to bring a handful of retired officers to see Torres.

But as word spread through the NYPD grapevine, he said more than 30 showed up in a caravan of cars, including a vintage NYPD cruiser. There was also at least one retired New York City firefighter.

“I wanted to bring his NYPD family here. We wanted to be here for him,” Rodriguez said.

Torres got sick after spending months securing the streets of Lower Manhattan following the fall of the World Trade Center in 2001. During that time, he breathed in what turned out to be deadly dust lingering from the destruction.

Like other colleagues, he got sick with cancer.

His sister lives in Coral Springs, and her family moved Torres from New York City to her home so they could take care of him as his sickness progressed.

Higgins said he’s been overwhelmed by Coral Springs police officers and firefighters, and then NYPD retirees, coming to see Torres and just being there for him.

“This has been really hard. It’s brutal watching someone disintegrate in front of you,” Higgins said. “But the prayers and support from everyone have been so great. We are so grateful.”

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