Commissioner James P. O’Neill of the New York Police Department sadly reports the death of Detective Harry Valentin.
Det. Valentin, 57, died of brain cancer that he developed following his assignment to the search and rescue efforts at the World Trade Center disaster. The months of exposure to contaminants and airborne toxins left him with difficulty breathing and his eventual diagnosis of a brain tumor. He died at his home in New Jersey surrounded by his family and close friends.
Valentin served the New York Police Department for thirty years. He spent years in the Counter Terrorism Division.
The following details were chronicled in his obituary:
Harry Valentin, 57, of Rosedale passed away Friday, May 18, 2018 at his residence. Born in New York he lived in Rosedale for the past 11 years. Harry was a 30 year veteran of the New York Police Department Retiring as a First Grade Detective. He was a 911 first responder and was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme because of his exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. Harry was a DEA member and a member of the Puerto Rican Civic Assoc. in Hammonton. He is survived by his wife, Georgina Valentin; his sons, Harry Valentin; Tyler Valentin both of Rosedale; Xavier Valentin of Florida; Franklin Rodriguez of Brooklyn, NY; three brothers, David Valentin, Oscar Valentin; Tito Valentin; two sisters, Irma Velez; Gloria Ruiz and his two grandsons, Franklin Rodriguez, Jr.; Xavier A. Valentin.
— Chief James Secreto (@NYPDHousing) May 22, 2018
The Voorhees Sun described the continued aftermath of the terrorist attack well:
Dust from the 9/11 attacks will never quite settle.
It has, rather literally, lingered in the bodies of thousands who were amid the wreckage that catastrophic morning 16 years ago, especially affecting those running toward the rubble, as others ran away. …
Dozens of servicemen and women gathered on the rehab’s second-floor patio to pay tribute to Valentin, including the county’s SRT team, the deputy chief of the NYPD, as well as officers representing Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Pine Hill, Waterford, Berlin Borough, Berlin Township and Winslow Township.
“When we take this job, we take an official oath…we swear to protect those who can’t protect themselves…,” said Patrick Conry, deputy chief of the NYPD, who worked with Valentin for more than a decade. “We also make another oath, and that’s to each other. As evidence of everyone being here today, that promise knows no borders, knows no boundaries.”
Of the entire NYPD force, detectives have been most severely affected by post-9/11 cancerous illnesses, because they spent the most time in the shadows of the chaos, investigating morgues, landfills and Ground Zero, according to Paul Digiacomo, vice president of the Detective’s Endowment Association.
Detective Harry Valentin is gone, but will never be forgotten. EOW: Friday, May 18, 2018.