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Army veteran police officer dies from 9/11-related illness

The facade of one of the towers of the World Trade Center lies in ruins as workmen work in the early morning hours on Sept. 14, 2001. (GARY FRIEDMAN/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The New York State Police Department is reporting the death of Investigator Ryan D. Fortini, a 1995 graduate of Burlington High School, from illness associated with his search and recovery work at the site of the World Trade Center Towers in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Superintendent Keith M. Corlett announced Fortini’s passing on the department’s Facebook page.

 

Fortini, 42, died on Jan. 1, 2020, from cancer stemming from his assignment to the World Trade Center site, following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, according to the post.

“Following the events of 9/11, Investigator Fortini was assigned to aid with the search and recovery efforts in New York City, as part of the New York State Police Detail,” Corlett wrote.

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Fortini retired from the New York State Police after 16 years of service on July 15, 2015, because of his worsening illness, according to Corlett’s post.

According to an obituary from Sullivan Funeral Home, “Ryan was proud to serve as a first responder during 9/11 and as a NY State Trooper for many years. He fought like a warrior and died a hero. Ryan never had regrets. He would do it all over again if he had to.”

Fortini enlisted in the Army National Guard Military Police at age 17 and served for six years, during which time he attended and graduated from UMass Lowell, according to the obituary.

“Ryan was determined to go the police academy as soon as possible after graduation. As a young child, he knew he wanted to be a police officer to help others. Police work was always his love and will forever be the work of which he was most proud.”

In the aftermath of 9/11, Fortini was assigned to aid with the search and recovery efforts in New York City, as part of the New York State Police detail. During his more than 15 years of service, Ryan was assigned to Troop K and then to Community Narcotics Enforcement Team in the NYS Hudson Valley.

He is survived by his parents, Edwin and Doreen Fortini; fiance, Caitlin McGuire; brother, Matthew Fortini (Neela); sister, Joy Wilson (Brian); nieces and nephews, Isabelle Wilson, Caitlin Fortini, Collin Fortini, McKenna Wilson, and Isla and Caden Masiello

A visitation will be held at St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St, Burlington (exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) on Tuesday, Jan. 7 from 4-8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Margaret’s Church on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 10 a.m. Services will conclude with a burial in Lakeside Cemetery, Wakefield. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in Fortini’s name to the Make A Wish Foundation, 133 Federal St., 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02110 or www.massri.wish.org. For directions see www.stmargaretburlington.org.

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