Pat Toro, the longtime former president of the Queens chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America and a retired law enforcement officer, died Thursday.
Toro was a U.S. Marine who became active with the VVA after retiring from a career as a criminal investigator for the Port Authority. He had briefly served as a city correction officer and police officer after returning from Southeast Asia in 1971. At the VVA, he also was a southern district leader and national director at large. He worked tirelessly to reach out to fellow Vietnam veterans in Queens and to keep their service in the public eye, and was inducted into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame in 2006. A Forest Hills resident, he succumbed to leukemia at age 65.
Paul Narson, now president of the Glendale-based Chapter 32 of the VVA, said in an announcement of Toro's death that the group's board and membership were saddened by it.
"Our sincerest condolences go out to the family," Narson said. "We lost a veterans' veteran today, but heaven has another Marine to watch over heaven's gate.
"Semper fi, brother," he said — the short form of the Marine slogan semper fidelis, always faithful.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Pat Toro," Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said in a prepared statement. "A Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, Pat served his country with courage and valor. It was an honor to have known Pat Toro, and I can say with certainty that he will be remembered as a leader, a humanitarian, and an American hero. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones."
Paul J Schottenhamel, Queens County adjutant-elect for the American Legion, announced over the weekend that Toro's wake and funeral services will be held as follows: