Big Spring 'Hot Dog Man' and Former NYPD Cop Remembers 9/11

Big Spring 'Hot Dog Man' and Former NYPD Cop Remembers 9/11

BIG SPRING, TX (KWES) - As the nation looks back and remembers lives lost fourteen years ago, the pain remains fresh for one Big Spring resident still shaken by September 11, 2001.

Tom Tafuro worked as a New York City cop before retiring from law enforcement, relocating to Texas and making a name for himself as Big Spring's renowned "Hot Dog Man."

Dozens of former colleagues he trained with, worked alongside and considered his "NYPD blue brothers" were killed in the 9/11 attacks.

Tafuro joined the NYPD Scuba Team in 1988 and dove with several men who later became FDNY firefighters. He saw them all together for the last time at their graduation party in Queens.

"It was crazy and the place was packed," he said with a sad smile. "Every single guy who was at that graduation party is dead now. They got killed in the [Twin] Towers."

The walls of Tafuro's Big Spring home are plastered with photos of his NYPD days and the iconic Manhattan skyline, pre-9/11. He still can't bring himself to visit Ground Zero, fourteen years after the World Trade Center collapsed.

"Funny how fate works," Tafuro told NewsWest 9. "I could have [taken a] fire department job, too. I wouldn't be here now [if I had]."