Cecilia DowdJun 1, 2017, 8:03 pmJun 1, 2017, 8:06 pm

Wake held for Ray Pfeifer, a firefighter whose story touched thousands around the world

Family says he thrived off community service years after being diagnosed with terminal illness

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Family rises against all odds to fulfill East Meadow firefighter’s dying wish 

People poured into an East Meadow firehouse on Thursday to say farewell to a firefighter whose life was committed to serving others.

Ray Pfeifer considered those in the FDNY and East Meadow Fire Department his family.

“His whole life, he really did do for others. And then when 9/11 hit, it changed him. It was as if he died that day. When he got cancer in 2009 was when he was reborn,” said Ray Pfeifer’s sister Maryellen McKee.

McKee says her brother survived through his work to help others who showed up in a vast amount of mourners who came to his wake.

“You can feel the love from people. It's crazy how many people he knew,” McKee said.

Some, who came to his wake even though they did not personally know him, came because they were inspired by his perseverance.

Edward Shrank came all the way from Chicago. He was impassioned by Ray's efforts in getting the Zadroga Act through Congress. Shrank says he has his fifth occurrence of cancer from chemical exposure from his time in the Marines.

Ray made many trips to D.C to lobby for the Zadroga Act, and always, with his good friend John Feal by his side.

“I miss my friend dearly and if I'm ever used in the same sentence as him again, then I lived a good life,” Feal said.

Ray's funeral will be held on Friday where he will be taken to the church on the back of this antique firetruck.

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