As I prepare for the next installments of my play “Batboy”, which I use to financially help different causes in the city including cancer research, youth sports clubs, the lack of funds that some parents need in order to put their kids into baseball programs, etc., I sit with my good buddy, Nick Singh, who happens to be a co-producer of my play “Batboy”. He shared a beautiful story about a mutual friend who recently died of 9/11 causes. Larry Rivera was a retired NYPD Officer for over 20 years, who was a first responder on September 11th, 2001, and I just want to be able to share the beautiful story that Nick Singh has allowed me to share with the world. Here is Nick’s story:
“It has been 17 years since first responders rushed into the burning and collapsing World Trade Center, paying no attention to their own health, safety, and risking their life, to rescue those who were victims of the September 11 attacks. Since that day, more than 2,000 deaths have been attributed to 9/11 illnesses and nearly 10,000 first responders and others who were in the World Trade Center area have been diagnosed with cancer. It is feared by the end of this year, the amount of people dying from diseases related to 9/11 will grow to more than the 2,977 people who lost their lives in the attacks. One of those first responders was not only one of my best friends, but a father figure to me, Lawrence Rivera.
“The night of July 5th, 2018 was one of the longest nights I’ve ever had. I still can’t put into words how difficult it was watching you fight cancer for so long with all your life, and then held your hand as you took your final breath. I will always remember the last words you said to me: I love you. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about you, wishing I can call you every night again and complain about how horrible the Yankees played.
“Larry, I can’t thank you enough for all the goofball jokes and laughs together, the bear hugs when I cried, the late night phone convos, taking me to Yankee games, checking up on me everyday, and treating me like your own son.
“Thank you for being a hero to not only me, but to all those victims you saved spending over six months on Ground Zero risking your life for others. Thank you for being a father to me. I miss you more and more each day.” – Nick Singh
It’s incredible how when you look at some of the pictures, the New York Yankees always seem to come into the equation and that’s why Larry loved them so much and was always so grateful that the Yankees were always out in the community.