Two weeks after Private Emmanuel Mensah died rescuing several people from a Bronx fire, his father and sister paid tribute at a memorial outside the apartment building where Mensah bravely risked his own life to save others.
"To me, he's a hero," said Kwabena Mensah, Emmanuel's father. "He did what he's supposed to do, he did what he's trained to do."
Emmanuel Mensah, 26, immigrated to the United States from Ghana five years ago. He served in the Army National Guard in Virginia before returning to New York.
But Mensah's death has taken on a new meaning since President Trump's reportedly vulgar comments about immigrants from Haiti and some African countries.
"The racist comments that he made really gets me upset," said Vanessa Mensah, Emmanuel's sister. "What you have said is not good, because we are all one people."
Mensah's family says they are not focusing on negative comments, saying Emmanuel would risk his life for anyone, friend or not, just as he would have done serving his country.
"He jumped into the fire to start knocking at other people's door," Kwabena Mensah said. "I think he went three or four times."
Residents say they want to see Mensah's name live on in the neighborhood and honor him with a plaque or street renaming.
"To recognize him in some kind of way, I think that would be appropriate," said a mourner who visited the memorial.
"To put his name around this area, his name — that's the legacy they have to do," Vanessa Mensah said.
And his legacy will live on; Mensah has been honored by Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who awarded Mensah the New York State Medal for Valor, representing the state's highest military award.