HACKENSACK, N.J. -- With tremendous pride, a group of Hackensack firefighters and loved ones of Dennis Walker gathered Saturday as his name was added to the International Association of Firefighters Fallen Fighters Memorial in Colorado Springs.
Although Walker died of bladder cancer in 2001, it wasn't until this year that it was linked to his heroic work at Ground Zero on 9/11.
So his name was added to the memorial along with 122 of the U.S. and Canada's bravest during the IAFF's 30th annual memorial ceremony.
His nephew, Firefighter James Walker Jr., also presented Dennis's widow, Beth, with an IAFF flag.
"You could always relay on Dennis to show up to assist any brother than needed help," Capt. Justin Derevyanik told Daily Voice. "He always had a smile on his face and was always doing his best to assist his brothers in anyway possible."
Derevyanik and other Hackensack department members of IAFF Locals 2081 and 3172 joined Walker's family, including his brother, retired HFD Lt. James Walker.
Walker, a 29-year Hackensack Fire Department veteran, also "always loved to talk about the New York Rangers," said Derevyanik, an IAFF Local 3172 delegate.
Walker received several citations for valor -- including Firefighter of the Year in 2008 and The Bergen County 200 Club John R. Rinaldi award for outstanding service and dedication.
He also spent countless hours assisting in the recovery efforts at ground zero.
"Due to his exposure to many unknown substances," Derevyanik said, "Dennis was diagnosed with bladder cancer.
"Dennis during his treatment fought a very hard fight trying his best to keep his family and fellow brothers positive that he would beat the cancer."
Walker died on June 15, 2011.
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