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GreekReporter.comDiasporaBridge Renamed in Memory of Greek-American Officer Pavlos Pallas

Bridge Renamed in Memory of Greek-American Officer Pavlos Pallas

Pavlos Pallas
Pavlos Pallas’ responding to the World Trade Center attack resulted in cancer that took his life in 2011. Credit: Port Authority Police

Greek-American police officer Pavlos Pallas who died from 9/11-related cancer will forever be remembered in Queens.

Last week, the 94th Street/Grand Central overpass to LaGuardia Airport was named after him.

His courageous work responding to the World Trade Center attack resulted in cancer that took his life in 2011. Family members remembered the late officer at the ceremony.

“For him, it came down to this: do the right thing toward your fellow men, take care of your community, and do it all with a smile without taking yourself too seriously,” said Margarita Loukas, Pallas’ widow.

Pallas’s family members, including his wife Margarita Loukas, his parents Dino and Georgia, his brother Andrew, his godmother Anna, and his nieces Konstantina and Eleni, attended the renaming ceremony.

Also present was retired NYPD K-9 Unit officer John Pappas, who had named his police dog partner after Pallas as a tribute to their close friendship.

Pallas joined the NYPD in 1998 and policed some of New York’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods. When the terror attacks happened on September 11, 2001, he spent a considerable amount of time in the rescue and recovery efforts.

Shortly after that, he joined the Port Authority Police Department, where he patrolled some of the busiest transportation facilities in the world. Unfortunately, as a result of his time helping others at the World Trade Center, he developed brain cancer and passed away on March 14, 2011.

Pavlos Pallas among more than 50,000 who suffered from cancer

As of 2023, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund has paid over $12 billion in compensation to victims suffering or who have died as a result of 9/11-related cancers and illnesses.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, government funds have compensated more than 53,531 people for cancer and other serious illnesses resulting from 9/11 toxic dust that included chemicals, pulverized glass, asbestos, and concrete among other things at Ground Zero.

The dust from Ground Zero, which spread throughout Lower Manhattan and to certain areas of Brooklyn, New Jersey, and even Staten Island, contained many known carcinogens. These included soot, benzene, cement, asbestos, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and dioxins.

Inhaling the toxic dust from Ground Zero is linked to more concerns than decreased lung capacity, lung cancers, and trouble breathing. Ground Zero exposure may have created a damaging cycle of inflammatory T-cell production for those who spent extended time near Ground Zero.

However, an increased risk of cancer does not just affect first responders. Anyone who spent a significant amount of time south of Houston Street in the year following September 11, 2001 may have been exposed to the cancer-causing dust.

The 9/11 cancer rates also aren’t the only vital metric needing research, as other illnesses and health conditions continue to plague survivors.

New York Fire Department research shows that about nine percent of firefighters exposed to the dust at Ground Zero during the first response still report a persistent cough twenty years later. About twenty-two percent experience shortness of breath and forty percent have chronic sinus problems or acid reflux.

Related: The Greek-American Victims of 9/11

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