MANHATTAN (PIX11) — A Port Authority police officer followed in his dad’s footsteps on Thursday, more than a decade after his father died of a 9/11-related illness. 

Anthony Cortazzo took on Port Authority K-9 Officer John Cortazzo’s badge numbers during a World Trade Center campus ceremony Thursday, according to the Port Authority. He’ll confirm his oaths of office on Friday in a New Jersey graduation ceremony.

John Cortazzo helped in rescue efforts after the 9/11 terror attacks, according to a news release. His son was just 5 at the time. The 9/11 hero developed myelodysplastic syndrome and died in 2009. 

Anthony Cortazzo, now 26, worked for the New York Giants and the Associated Press, but neither job felt right for him. 

“There was always something missing,” he said.

Port Authority Police Superintendent Edward Cetnar thanked Anthony Cortazzo’s family, especially his mom, “who helped to get him to this day after the sacrifice she has made knowing her son is entering the same challenge.”

“Although Anthony was robbed of his childhood years with his dad, his dad’s legacy certainly has had its impact as witnessed by him becoming a police officer,” Cetnar said.

The Port Authority Police Department remembers John Cortazzo for his dedication and for being “tough as nails,” according to the department. John Cortazzo hopes to carry on a different trait of his dad: compassion. 

“My dad sensed that I was a sensitive person, so he never pushed me to be a tough person,” John Cortazzo said.