By Billy Goldfeder
I sure hate to put it this way but the reality is that nearly every week another firefighter, police officer, EMT, service worker, or community resident is dying from World Trade Center– or 9/11-related disease. Some are literally fading away as they pass away. They are dying from the toxic dust that everyone was told was not dangerous. Remember that? How’d that work out?
My words aren’t at all meant to be disrespectful to those who have died–or will die. Moreover they are meant to get those ignorant federally elected officials to understand that supporting the needs of the responders is what they were elected to do-take care of those who take care of us without wheeling, dealing, cutting and game playing. People are fed up and tired of game playing inside the beltway. Just look at the polls…
The issue here is that what happened on 9/11 may predictably happen again. Maybe different–maybe the same–but its why we as a nation try to be prepared. But consider that there is another attack, and fire, EMS, and cops get exposed…maybe this time in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami…or maybe is some smaller areas…or maybe simultaneously in numerous areas, both large or small. How well do you think these anti-support members of congress will support you?
Well, as GG says: The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
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This past week there were several more responders that have died. An NYPD Lieutenant, described by family members as a “tough cookie” with “a heart of gold,” died of a 9/11-related illness. Lt. Marci Simms, 51, died Thursday at her Long Island home, just 16 months after she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The Brooklyn-born officer contracted the disease after operating at Ground Zero for more than four months.
And then there is this one from NYPD, who was also a volunteer Firefighter, Chuck Karen. Chuck was a member of NYPD and fought a tough, tough battle in his attempt to survive rectal cancer related to 9/11…like others, he ran out of time in his battle.
Chuck started serving the community as a Firefighter in 1991…he became an NYPD Police Officer shortly after. While a police officer he received a medal for pulling someone out of a fire-he loved serving and helping. Chuck worked at the WTC site but was retired after the rescue, recovery and cleanup efforts when he broke his back attempting to subdue a suspect. Chuck has 2 children Charles (9) and Dominic 4, with his wife, Tina.
Chuck lost his battle with cancer on Wednesday 11/4 after a courageous battle he fought for 3 years.
Chuck was a firefighter with my alma mater, the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department on Long Island. As a good friend of mine wrote “ take comfort in knowing Charles is going to a place were there is no cancer, no doctors, no nurses and no elected officials who continue to deny and fight all 9/11 heroes who suffer from 9/11 and its aftermath…”
But what about those who remain?
And The Band Plays On.
And The Beat Goes On.
Call it what you will…Marci and Chuck’s costs were taken care of by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health Compensation Act, but Congress failed to renew the program last month. It is now set to fully expire in October 2016. Some of our representatives want to offer up a bill that will keep the Zadroga act up for just five more years. WTF does five years mean? It means after five years there will still be Firefighters, Police Officers, EMTs, and others left floating out there with no life preserver from our Country. Our elected officials. No help.
Here…maybe this will help you, our readers, get angry enough to reach out and keep reaching out to your Federally elected officials. We need SQUEAKY WHEELS immediately. We have written about FDNY Firefighter Ray Pfeifer before-a long time friend. “I have Stage 4 cancer,” says Ray… “It’s not going away in five years. There’s 70,000 people that their illnesses are not going away in five years.”
“One of the chemo pills that I had to take was $9,000,” the father of two says.. “So do I pay for this $9,000 pill out of my pocket, which I did have health care, but it didn’t cover it? Or do I put a roof over my kids’ head, feed them? What do you do??
PLEASE take time now to reach out to your Federally elected officials. Let them know that the Zadroga act (HR 1786) needs to be revisited and renewed without deadlines or changes.
PLEASE sign the petition HERE:
FIND YOUR CONGRESS MEMBER HERE:
RIP Lt Marci Simms and PO Chuck Karen.
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- Two Firefighters Killed from the Same Department. Don’t Mind Your Own Business.
- The Prison Escape, The Firefighters, and Mutual Aid
- THE Fire: If I Could’ve Gotten In, I Would’ve Gotten In!
- Stop the Excuses: Facing the Family After a Firefighter Death
Sometimes We Must Take Risks…Not Every LODD Is Avoidable
- It’s ALWAYS a Fire
BILLY GOLDFEDER, EFO, is deputy chief of the Loveland-Symmes (OH) Fire Department. He has been a firefighter since 1973, a company officer since 1979, and a chief officer since 1982. He serves on the International Association of Fire Chiefs board of directors, the September 11th Families Association, and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. He has taught at FDIC for 30-plus years and is a member of the Fire Engineering editorial advisory board and the FDIC executive advisory board. He writes the “Nozzlehead” column for FireRescue magazine and is in charge of www.firefighterclosecalls.com.