New York, New York
After a colleague kidded him about his weight, he quipped that he wasn’t fat—he was fluffy. Much to his parent’s chagrin, the name stuck. Luis had a way of making everyone he came in contact with laugh and smile. “He was just one of those guys who made us feel good.” When he arrived on scene, everyone knew things would be okay. Luis was an extremely dedicated person with a big heart. He was the type of person that if he had something, you had it too. To him it was all about giving and seeing people happy.
On the days following the 9/11 attacks, Luis de Peña spent countless hours in the rescue and recovery effort at the World Trade Center disaster site. “Regardless of the danger, regardless of the struggle, Luis de Peña braved the toxic clouds of dust to aid in the rescue and recovery.” de Peña’s efforts to save lives at the disaster site proved fatal 12 years later as he succumbed to disease on November 7, 2013.
He worked in many of the city’s toughest areas in his 18 years, Harlem, the South Bronx, el Barrio, and Washington Heights to name a few. In the years following the 9/11 attacks, he attended many National EMS Memorial services to honor his fallen co-workers. As a lasting tribute to Luis, West 172nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan was renamed “EMT Luis de Peña Jr. Square.”