STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - He was a hardworking man with a big heart. That is how Gilbert Torres Jr. is being remembered by family and friends who were forever changed by his kindness.
"He was my hero and he made me want to be a hero everyday. Do a good deed every day," said David Ramos, his son.
Torres, or Toro as he was known on Staten Island, was a single father who took in his sister's three young children after she died in 1982. David Ramos said his pop loved him, his sister Carlina and his brother Miguel unconditionally until his death on Easter Sunday.
"I find myself trying to fight back tears and emotions just to be strong for my family," Ramos said.
The 56-year-old was living in a Staten Island nursing home when he died from COVID-19. He moved there in 2014, just six months after retiring from his job as a school safety officer. Torres worked in several Staten Island Schools over nearly 25 years.
"He was a good provider. He always taught us how to do what's right. He was a good man," Ramos said.
Torres was born in Puerto Rico. He moved to Brooklyn as a young child and then to Staten Island. He was always the life of the party, spinning tunes as a DJ all over the borough.
"He was always out and about. He loved to drive around, hanging out, having Salsa music or house music playing. He would be hanging out, especially around Park Hill. A lot of people knew him in Park Hill.
After his death many took to Facebook to post personal stories about Torres' many acts of kindness.
"That's the type of man he was," Ramos said.
The stories have been heartwarming for his three children who say his lasting legacy is that he gave them a second chance at life.