Memorial Garden Planned for Forest Hills Volunteer Who Died on 9/11
QUEENS — A teenage volunteer EMT who died on 9/11 may soon be honored by a memorial garden in Forest Hills — as his family continues to wage a legal battle to have him recognized as a first responder.
The Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corp. is collecting funds to build a memorial for Richard Pearlman, who was 18 when he headed to the World Trade Center after two hijacked planes struck the towers.
The memorial, planned in front of the group’s headquarters on Metropolitan Avenue, would include benches, greenery and a beam from one of the towers, said the organization’s president, Ron Cohen.
The group has paid tribute to Pearlman during the annual 9/11 ceremonies. But his mother, Dorie, who also volunteers with the group, said that the memorial "will serve as an example of a young person who gave his life to save other people's lives."
She said her son joined the group when he was 13 and commuted from Lindenwood, where the family lives, to Forest Hills "to help out."
Cohen said the memorial will be “a permanent fixture for her to always come to sit and reflect on what happened and the memory of her son.”
According to published reports, Dorie Pearlman is involved in a legal battle with the federal government who never classified her son as a first responder.
Cohen said the memorial, designed by Henry Cohen, a landscape architect, “will be very unique.”
“I don’t think that there is anything like it in the borough,” he said. “It will be open as a public space for the community.”
The group is planning to begin the construction in the spring and hopes to complete the project by 9/11 next year.