9/11 RESPONDERS NEED HELP

The families of 9/11 first responders, and the activists who support them, are facing more funerals and potentially no funding for the brave men and women who became gravely ill after working at the World Trade Center after the attacks on 9/11. They recently came back after an appeal on Capitol Hill. Find out why they’re still fighting.

For more information on NYC’s 9/11 First Responders and victims, and to learn how you can support them, visit The FealGood Foundation, or The Ray Pfeifer Foundation.

Aired on March 18, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> SEPTEMBER 11th VICTIMS COMPENSATION FUND SET ASIDE FOR THE SOME 45,000 FIRST RESPONDERS AND THEIR SURVIVORS WHO ARE NOW SUFFERING FROM RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES AND RARE CANCERS IS RAPIDLY RUNG OUT OF MONEY.

THOSE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WHO WORKED AT THE PIT IN THE DAYS AND MONTHS FOLLOWING THE TERROR ATTACK ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

THERE IS HOPE FOR MR. FUNDS TO BE AVAILABLE.

A NEW BIPARTISAN BILL CALLED NEVER FORGET THE HEROES ACT WAS RECENTLY INTRODUCED.

IT WOULD, IF PASSED, REPLENISH THE FUND.

THE QUESTION IS WILL IT PASS THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE?

HUMORIST AND ACTIVIST JON STEWART, FIRST RESPONDER, VICTIMS AND ADVOCATES WENT TO WASHINGTON RECENTLY TO TAKE THEIR CASE TO CONGRESS, AND 'METROFOCUS' WENT WITH THEM.

YOU HAVE THESE MEN AND WOMEN WHO -- WHOSE HUMANIT ON THE LINE.

THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE WITH US NEXT TIME.

THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE HERE.

MY FATHER ACTUALLY PASSED AWAY FROM LUNG CANCER.

IT STARTED OFF AS BLADDER CANCER AND TURNED INTO LUNG CANCER IN 2017.

HE WAS FDNY FIRST RESPONDER.

IT BURNED THROUGH HIM IN SIX MONTHS.

THE EPA SAID THERE WAS 160 TOXINS IN THE AIR THERE WAS PULVERIZED GLASS, BENZENE.

WE DIDN'T FIND ONE COMPUTER.

WE DIDN'T FINE ONE TELEPHONE.

WE DIDN'T FIND A PIECE OF GLASS.

THE BUILDINGS WERE SHEETED IN GLASS.

I WAS A STUDENT IN LOWER MANHATTAN THAT WENT BACK LESS THAN A MONTH AFTER THE ATTACKS TO A CONTAMINATED BUILDING LOCATED NEXT TO A BARGE THAT THEY WERE BRINGING DEBRIS TO DAY AFTER DAY AND DUMPING IT NEXT TO OUR SCHOOL'S INTAKE SYSTEM.

JUST NOW STARTING TO SEE A SPIKE IN SERIOUS ILLNESS AMONG OUR OU.

AND HAS HAPPENED JUST AS IT IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE.

I'M THE THIRD GUY TO COME DOWN HERE IN THIS WHEELCHAIR.

IT'S BEEN PASSED DOWN TO ME.

THE TWO PREVIOUS GUYS DIED.

THIS IS NOT HYSTERIC INDIVIDUALS.

THIS IS NOT PRONE TO WOE IS ME.

THEY'RE SOME OF THE MOST STEADFAST INDIVIDUALS THAT I MET, AND THEY SUFFER IN A WAY THEY SHOULDN'T BE MADE TO SUFFER.

JOINING US NOW TO PROVIDE US WITH SOME INSIGHT AND PERSONAL PERSPECTIVES ARE ROBERT TELARSIO AND BRIDGET GORMLEY, AND ALONG WITH THEM ATTORNEY MICHAEL BAYERISCHE, WHO IS REPRESENTING FAMILIES, AND HAS BEEN FOR A VERY LONG TIME NOW.

WELCOME TO ALL THREE OF YOU.

WE APPRECIATE TO HAVE YOU.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

I WANT TO GET TO THE TWO OF YOU AND YOUR PERSONAL STORIES IN A MOMENT.

ROBERT, LET ME START WITH YOU.

MOST PEOPLE ARE AWARE THERE IS A FUND IN EXISTENCE, BUT I ALSO SUSPECT THEY PROBABLY DON'T KNOW ITS HISTORY.

RIGHT.

GIVE ME A CAPSULIZATION IF YOU WILL OF THE FUND'S HISTORY AND WHERE WE ARE NOW WITH IT.

IN 2001, JUST A FEW DAYS AFTER 9/11, CONGRESS PASSED THE VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND OFFERING COMPENSATION TO THOSE WHO DIED IN THE PLANES AND IN THE BUILDINGS.

THAT FUND WAS ENORMOUSLY SUCCESSFUL, BUT IT ENDED IN 2003.

AND I THINK, AGAIN, THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS WHERE PEOPLE PROBABLY DID NOT REALIZE YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT A SHORT WINDOW.

THAT'S RIGHT.

THAT'S RIGHT.

I THINK 95% OF THE PEOPLE WHO LOST LOVEDS TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE FUNDS SO THEY WOULDN'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH LITIGATION, AND THEY GOT A FAIR AWARD FROM THE GOVERNMENT.

I DO NEED TO GIVE YOU SOME CONTEXT HERE.

IF YOU MAY REMEMBER, THE EPA ASSURED EVERYONE THE AIR IS SAFE.

THEY WANTED TO REOPEN WALL STREET.

THEY WANTED PEOPLE TO DO THE DEBRIS CLEANUP, AND THEY DID.

AND AS A MATTER OF FACT IN THAT OPENING THAT YOU SHOWED, LILA FROM THE HIGH SCHOOL NEARBY, HER HIGH SCHOOL WAS REOPENED IN THREE WEEKS, AND YET THEY USED IT AS A MORGUE FOR THE THREE WEEKS BEFORE THEY REOPENED STUYVESANT HIGH SCHOOL.

MY LAW FIRM REPRESENTS 25 KIDS FROM STUYVESANT HIGH SCHOOL AND PACE UNIVERSITY WHO HAVE CANCER.

IT'S TRULY HORRIFYING.

IN ANY CASE, CONGRESS THEN DID THE RIGHT THING.

IN 2011, THEY PASSED THE JAMES ED ROGA HEALTH ACT.

IT WAS NAMED AFTER MY CLIENT WHEN HE DIED OF PULMONARY FIBROSIS, THEY FOUND IN HIS LUNG TISSUE GROUND GLASS, ASBESTOS, CHROMIUM, LEAD, BENZENE.

THESE ARE ALL KNOWN CARCINOGENS.

AND IN 2013, CONGRESS, FOLLOWING THE EDICT OF NYASH LINKED 68 CANCERS TO THE TOXINS.

AND IN 2015, THEY REAUTHORIZED THE VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND, BUT IT IS SET TO EXPIRE AT THE END OF 2020.

THE PROBLEM IS SO MANY PEOPLE LIKE THEIR FATHERS HAVE BEEN GETTING CANCER AND DIEING THAT THEY ARE SIMPLY RUNG OUT OF MONEY.

I WANT TO COME BACK TO YOU IN A MINUTE AND TALK TO YOU ABOUT WHY THERE HAS BEEN SUCH A SIGNIFICANT UPTICK AND WHAT WE'RE FINDING IN TERMS OF THE MEDICAL CONDITION.

LET ME TALK TO THE TWO OF YOU.

BRIDGET, YOU FIRST.

THIS IS ALL ABOUT FAMILY MEMBERS.

IT'S ALL ABOUT FRIENDS.

IT'S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE SUFFERED AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THIS.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FATHER.

MY FATHER WAS -- HIS NAME WAS BILLY GORMLEY, AND HE WAS A FIRST RESPONDER FIREFIGHTER FDNY.

AND HIS COMPANY WAS FIRST TO ARRIVE RIGHT AFTER THE TOWERS HAD FELL.

HE WENT INTO THE THICK OF IT.

HE WENT DOWN THERE ON 9/11 AND STAYED THERE UNTIL ABOUT CHRISTMAS TIME WITH THE CLEANUP.

I DIDN'T SEE HIM VERY OFTEN.

HE CAME HOME, SHOWERED, SLEPT, WENT BACK.

I SAW WHAT HE WAS COVERED IN.

AND THE SMELL OF IT.

BUT NEVER ANY RESERVATION ABOUT GOING BACK?

NO, NO RESERVATION.

KNOWING WHAT HE WENT THROUGH, HINGE WOULD DO IT AGAIN.

I THINK A LOT OF GUYS WOULD.

AND TELL ME ABOUT HIS DIAGNOSIS.

HE WAS DIAGNOSED CHRISTMAS 2016 WITH BLADDER CANCER, AND HE WENT THE COURSE OF TREATMENT FROM JANUARY TO APRIL, AND THEN IN MAY HE GOT REALLY SICK AND IN JUNE PASSED AWAY, AN ASTONISHING FAST.

IT BURNED THROUGH HIM VERY QUICKLY, YEAH, IN SIX MONTHS.

ROB, HOW ABOUT YOU.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAD.

MY FATHER WAS A FIREFIGHTER ALSO.

HE WAS FROM ENGINE 266 IN ROCKAWAY BEACH, AND HE RESPONDED TO GROUND ZERO ON 9/11 AS WELL.

AND WHEN HE RESPONDED THAT DAY, HE NEVER THOUGHT IT WOULD BE, YOU KNOW -- IT WOULD AFFECT HIM YEARS DOWN THE LINE, 10, 20 YEARS DOWN THE LINE.

MY FATHER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH BRAIN CANCER IN THE SPRING OF 2015, AND THEN HE PASSED AWAY IN THE FALL OF 2017, OCTOBER 25th.

AND HE WAS 58 YEARS OLD.

SO HE WAS A HEALTHY GUY, AND YOU NEVER THOUGHT, YOU KNOW, THAT SOMETHING LIKE THIS WOULD HAPPEN, BUT THEN WHEN YOU LOOK BACK, AND YOU REALIZE THAT HE WAS ON THE PILE FOR SO MANY WEEKS AND MONTHS AFTER 9/11, THAT HE DIDN'T HAVE THE PROPER RESPIRATOR OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT FOR ASBESTOS AND LEAD AND ALL THE OTHER PULVERIZED STUFF IN THE AIR.

AND SADLY, IT TOOK HIS LIFE, YOU KNOW.

MICHAEL, LET ME COME BACK TO YOU NOW.

TALK ABOUT THE FUND RUNNING OUT OF MONEY.

AND SOME FOLKS MIGHT SAY, WELL, WE'RE GETTING NOW -- WE'RE GETTING CLOSE TO 20 YEARS SINCE THAT HORRIBLE DAY AND THE HORRIBLE CONSEQUENCES.

AND THEY MIGHT SAY WHY ARE THERE MORE CLAIMANTS SHOWING UP NOW?

WHAT'S THE ANSWER TO THAT?

WELL, THE DOCTORS ARE NOT SURPRISED.

WE AS LAY PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED, BUT IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, AND I'M SURE YOU WERE DOWN THERE TOO COVERING THE STORY, JACK, THE SMELL, AS BRIDGET SAID, IT WREAKED DOWN THERE.

AND NOT WITHSTANDING WHAT THE EPA SAID ABOUT THE AIR BEING SAFE.

WE KNEW IT WASN'T SAFE.

BUT THEY WANTED TO REOPPEN WALL STREET.

SO MY LAW FIRM REOPENED.

THEY WANTED TO REOPEN THE HIGH SCHOOLS AND EVERYBODY TO SHOW EVERYBODY WE'RE GOING AROUND ALL THIS.

WE'RE GOING GET THROUGH THIS.

WE'RE BACK TO NORMAL.

WELL, THE DOCTORS ARE SEEING EXACTLY WHAT THEY EXPECTED NOW WHICH ARE NOT ONLY CANCERS, BUT CANCERS ON STEROIDS, REALLY RARE AGGRESSIVE CANCERS AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE MULTIPLE CANCERS.

AND THAT'S WHY NOT A DAY GOES BY WITHOUT ONE OF MY CLIENTS PASSING AWAY.

IT'S THAT SERIOUS.

AND AS A RESULT, THE FUND, WHICH REALLY HAS BEEN OPERATING VERY, VERY WELL, THEY JUST DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY.

AND THAT'S WHY THEY RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THESE CUTS OF 50 AND 70%, WHICH IS SO UNFAIR, BUT I UNDERSTAND IT.

THEY'VE GOT TO MAKE THESE FUNDS LAST.

BUT THAT'S WHY WE WERE IN WASHINGTON.

IT'S WHY WE'RE GOING BACK TO WASHINGTON, BECAUSE WE'VE GOT TO CONVINCE CONGRESS TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND FULL ITS MORAL OBLIGATION AND PASS AND EXTEND THIS FUND.

I WANT TO GET TO THE BILL IN A SECOND.

I WANT ALL YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT.

LET ME COME BECOME TO SOMETHING THAT YOU MENTIONED, AND THAT IS THE DOCTORS UNDERSTAND THIS, AT LEAST NOW.

WHAT PEOPLE WERE NOT REALIZING IS EVERYTHING THAT HAD IN THE AIR, EVERYTHING THAT WAS INCINERATED IN THE BUILDINGS WAS IN THE AIR.

THEY DIDN'T FIND ONE PHONE OR ONE COMPUTER.

THEY ONLY FOUND 1/3 OF THE PEOPLE.

ALL THAT STUFF, AS ROB SAID, WAS PULVERIZED.

SO PEOPLE WERE BREATHING THIS TOXIC DUST THAT HAD THE PH LEVEL OF DRANO.

THAT'S WHY WE'RE SEEING SKIN CANCER ELEVATED 33% COMPARED TO PRE-9/11.

WE'RE SEEING RAMPANT BREAST CANCER AMONG WOMEN AND PROSTATE CANCER AMONG MEN.

AND AS I MENTIONED, 68 CANCERS ALL TOGETHER, PLUS MANY RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS.

IS THERE RESISTANCE, AT LEAST INITIALLY TO INCLUDING ALL OF THESE?

YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT 68 CANCER, SOME PROBABLY HAVE NEVER BEEN SEEN IN RECENT THERE RESISTANC INITIALLY TO SAYING TO PEOPLE, OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO RECOGNIZE THAT THAT'S A CONSEQUENCE OF THIS, AND WE ARE GOING TO BRING YOU INTO OUR FOLD.

AT THE BEGINNING, NO CANCERS WERE LINKED.

AT THE BEGINNING THEY SAID IT'S JUST GOING TO BE RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS, REACTIVE AIRWAY DISEASE, ASTHMA, SLEEP APNEA.

BUT THEN THE FIRE DEPARTMENT MEDICAL OFFICE BEGAN TO SEE THIS BIG UPTICK, BETWEEN 19% AND 32% IN ALL THESE CANCERS.

AND THAT WAS THE EVIDENCE THAT NYASH NEEDED.

AND FINALLY IN TUITION AND '14, THAT'S WHEN THEY ADDED THE CANCERS.

TYPICAL ME ABOUT THE LEGISLATION.

IT WOULD FUND THE VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND FOR THE REST OF EVERYBODY'S LIFE.

SO IF AND WHEN PEOPLE GET CANCERS IN THE FUTURE, THEY WILL BE COVERED.

IF THEY LOSE THEIR CAREER BECAUSE THEY CAN'T WORK AS A RESULT OF THEIR CANCER, THEY WILL BE COVERED.

IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

SO NO CEILING?

NO ENDING AT ALL.

RIGHT NOW THE HEALTH PROGRAM HAS BEEN RIGHTFULLY EXTENDED TO THE REST OF EVERYBODY'S LIFE.

WHY SHOULDN'T THE VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND?

TALK ABOUT THE VISIT DOWN TO WASHINGTON.

BRIDGET, YOU FIRST.

WHAT WERE YOU ALL HOPING TO ACCOMPLISH?

AND WHAT DID YOU EXPERIENCE DOWN THERE?

I THINK ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES FOR PEOPLE THAT ARE OUTSIDE OF THE TRI-STATE AREA IS THEY THINK IT'S A NEW PROBLEM.

YOU HAVE TO CONVINCE THEM THAT -- YOU TO TELL THEM THAT THEY HAVE X AMOUNT OF PEOPLE IN THEIR DISTRICT THAT ARE IN THE PROGRAM.

ARE THEY SURPRISED SOMETIMES?

SOMETIMES THEY ARE.

I THINK I SAW A STATISTIC.

I MIGHT BE WRONG, BUT THAT ARE SOME VICTIM IN EVERY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT EXCEPT ONE IN THE UNITED STATES.

WE DON'T KNOW WHICH ONE IT IS.

BUT THAT'S IMPRESSIVE.

NOT IMPRESSIVE, IT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.

SO IT'S A NATIONAL ISSUE.

I THINK YOU HAVE TO CONVINCE THEM OF THAT.

AND THESE PEOPLE ALSO, THESE POLITICIANS, THEY ARE THE BIGGEST FLAG WAVERS SOMETIMES, NEVER FORGET, POSTING AND TWEETING.

ESPECIALLY ON 9/11, POSTING AND TWEETING.

AND WHEN YOU GO IN THERE LOOK FOR HELP, THEY CAN FORGET.

IT'S SAD YOU WOULD HAVE TO GO DOWN THERE.

MY FATHER, HE TOOK ABOUT A DOZEN TRIPS DOWN TO WASHINGTON, D.C.

HIMSELF BEFORE HE WAS EVEN SICK.

AND THE LAST FEW TIMES WERE IN A WHEELCHAIR THAT HE WENT DOWN THERE.

JUST THE FACT THAT HE HAS TO GO DOWN THERE WITH THE TERMINAL CANCER TO CONVINCE CONGRESSMEN TO EXTEND THIS BILL, IT'S SO DISHEARTENING.

WE SAW A GUY THAT HAD LESS THAN SIX MONTHS TO LIVE THAT WAS DOWN THERE WITH A TERMINAL CANCER BASICALLY THAT WAS IN D.C. LAST TIME.

YOU KNOW, IF THAT DOESN'T SPEAK TO ITSELF, I MEAN, I DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE COULD.

THE FACT THAT PEOPLE HAVE TO GO DOWN THERE AND FIGHT FOR THEIR BENEFITS TO MAKE SURE THAT THEIR FAMILIES WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF, YOU KNOW, AS MY FAMILY HAS A PENDING CLAIM, MANY OTHER PEOPLE HAVE PENDING CLAIMS THAT ARE NOW CUT IN HALF OR WILL RECEIVE ONLY 30% OF WHAT OTHER FAMILIES DID.

AND IT'S JUST NOT FAIR, YOU KNOW.

THE GOVERNMENT SET UP THIS FUND SO PEOPLE WOULD NOT BRING FORTH LAWSUITS.

HERE THEY ARE, IT'S A SLAP IN THE FACE THAT YOU'RE ONLY GOING TO GET 30 OR 50%. AND, YOU KNOW, THERE IS NO AMOUNT OF MONEY AT THE END OF THE DAY THAT WILL BRING MY FATHER BACK, BUT, YOU KNOW, JUST KNOWING THAT MY FAMILY IS TAKEN CARE OF IS WHAT MATTERS MOST.

AND WHAT MY FATHER WOULD WANT TO SEE.

DID YOU FIND, BRIDGET, IN TALKING WITH THESE FOLKS, AND AGAIN, WE'VE HEARD SOME PEOPLE THINK IT'S SORT OF A REGIONAL ISSUE, AS OPPOSED TO A NATIONAL ISSUE.

DID YOU FIND YOU WERE ABLE TO CHANGE MINDS?

YEAH, BUT IT TOOK MORE SHAMING THAN I THOUGHT WAS NECESSARY.

REALLY?

YEAH, A LITTLE BIT.

YOU GOT TO BACK THEM INTO A CORNER.

AND THAT IS NOT A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN ISSUE.

OH, NO.

THIS WAS INCREDIBLY DEMOCRATIC TOXIC DUST.

IT DOESN'T CARE IF YOU WERE WHITE, BLACK, JEWISH, CATHOLIC.

REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRAT.

EVERYBODY WAS EX-SPOEDE SUPPOSED.

THE GOVERNMENT LIED US TO AT FIRST.

THEN THEY DID THE RIGHT THING AND MADE US A PLEDGE.

WE'RE ASKING JUST FULFILL THAT PLEDGE AND TAKE CARE OF THESE FAMILIES.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PROSPECTS ARE?

I THINK THEY'RE GOOD.

I DON'T KNOW HOW ANY POLITICIAN CAN LOOK IN THE MIRROR AFTER MEETING KIDS LIKE THIS OR YOUNG ADULTS AND TELL OUR FIRST RESPONDERS, HEY, WE MADE YOU A PROMISE, AND NOW WE'RE BREAKING THAT PROMISE.

I THINK THEY'RE GOING TO DO THE RIGHT THING, LIKE THEY DID IN 2011 AND AGAIN IN 2015.

WHEN DO YOU THINK THAT THESE MIGHT COME UP?

I THINK THEY'RE GOING TO COME UP RIGHT AFTER THIS SEPTEMBER 11th, PROBABLY IN EARLY OCTOBER, AND I THINK IT WILL PASS THEN.

AND I'M CERTAINLY GOING TO FIGHT TO MAKE SURE IT HAPPENS.

CIRCUM

IS IT YOUR SENSE ALSO?

CURRENTLY OVER 150 CO-SPONSORS IN THE HOUSE, AND THERE IS ABOUT 20-SOMETHING CO-SPONSORS WITHIN THE SENATE.

AND WHERE IT'S REALLY GOING TO MATTER IS THE SENATE, IT WOULD BE NICE TO SEE IF THESE 60 CO-SPONSORS WITH THE SENATE AND WHY WE HAVE TO GO BACK.

YOU KNOW, ONE ADVANTAGE WE HAVE, WE HAVE SO MANY CLIENT, SO MANY RESPONDERS WHO LIVE IN NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, FLORIDA, WHERE THEY HAVE ALL REPUBLICAN SENATORS, AND BASICALLY, JON STEWART SAID, WE NEED 11 MORE REPUBLICAN SENATORS TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

AND I'M GOING USE MY CLIENTS WHO LIVE IN THOSE STATES TO BE CALLING THEIR LEGISLATORS AND SAYING HEY, I'M A CONSTITUENT.

I NEED YOUR HELP.

THIS IS NOT A NEW YORK ISSUE.

WE TALK A LITTLE BIT -- BRIDGET, YOU'VE BEEN WORKING ON IT.

INSURANCE LIKE AN ANALOGY TO MY FATHER.

THE THING IS WITH 9/11, ESPECIALLY FOR PEOPLE LIKE US, WHEN OUR FATHERS CAME HOME, WE WERE THE LUCKY ONES.

YOU HAVE THIS ISSUE OF SURVIVORS TURNING INTO VICTIMS TWO DECADES LATER.

SOY DIDN'T REALIZE THE EXTENT OF HOW BAD IT WAS UNTIL MY FATHER PASSED AWAY.

I WAS THROWN INTO A COMMUNITY I DIDN'T NECESSARILY WANT TO BE THROWN INTO.

AND EVEN THERE WAS SOMEBODY WHO VISITED MY FATHER WHEN HE WAS IN HOSPICE WHO WASN'T AT THE FUNERAL AND WE REQUESTED ABOUT IT BECAUSE HE WAS IN THE HOSPICE HOME.

I DON'T WANT TO SAY THEY WERE DROPPING LIKE FLIES, BUT IT WAS KIND OF DEVASTATING TO THINK ABOUT THAT.

SO I JUST WANTED TO DOCUMENT THIS WHOLE LEGAL BATTLE, THE HEALTH CRISIS, WHAT WAS DONE WRONG, WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE, WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THIS.

I JUST WANT TO RESHIFT THE MAYORTIVE A LITTLE BIT TOO, BECAUSE IT'S NOT A QUESTION OF WHAT HAPPENED.

IT'S WHAT IS HAPPENING.

AND ROB, YOU'VE ACTUALLY MADE A LIFE DECISION IN TERMS OF WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE NOW.

YEAH, I MEAN, I TOOK THE FIRE DEPARTMENT TEST, FDNY TEST, AND I ALREADY PASSED MY WRITTEN TEST AND PHYSICAL TEST AND MEDICAL TEST, AND I'M SET TO MAYBE ENTER THE FIRE DEPARTMENT THIS SUMMER.

I WANT TO MENTION BY THE WAY YOU TOOK THE TEST.

YEAH.

BUT YOU ALSO SCORED 18th OUT OF 45,000.

I GOT 18 OUT OF 45,000.

I KNOW I SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET IN THERE.

WERE YOU INCLINED TO DO THAT BEFORE YOU LOST YOUR DAD?

ORIGINALLY, I WAS SET TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL, WHICH I STILL HOPE TO FULFILL.

AND, YOU KNOW, I MEAN, WHERE MY FATHER PASSED AN ISSUE TO MAKE HIM PROUD.

I'M NOW GOING TO JOIN THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.

AND IT'S SOMETHING THAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO JUST TO GIVE BACK, YOU KNOW.

MICHAEL, COME BACK TO YOU IN TERMS OF HOW THIS BILL PLAYED OUT.

WHEN YOU FIRST GOT INVOLVED BACK THEN, WOULD YOU EVER HAVE ENVISIONED THAT 20 YEARS LATER WE WOULD STILL BE TALKING ABOUT HOW CAN WE PROVIDE SOMETHING TO HELP THE PEOPLE WHO WERE -- SO MANY PEOPLE WHO WERE VICTIMS?

HONESTLY, I'M NOT REALLY SURPRISED.

MY LAW FIRM IS TWO BLOCKS AWAY FROM THE TOWERS.

I WAS THERE THE DAY THE TOWERS STARTED COMING DOWN.

I'M ONE OF THE PEOPLE YOU SEE RUNNING UP TOWN WHILE THE FIREFIGHTERS ARE GOING DOWNTOWN.

AND I'M COVERED IN DUST ALSO.

SO I'M NOT SURPRISED, BECAUSE I KNOW HOW DEADLY THESE TOXINS ARE.

I READ.

I SEE THE DIAGNOSES EVERY SINGLE DAY IN MY LAW FIRM.

I SAY THIS OFTEN, BUT NOT OFTEN ENOUGH.

YOUR DADS ARE THE ONES WHO RUN DIRECTLY INTO THE DANGER TO MAKE SURE THAT THE REST OF US ARE SAFE.

AND I'M SURE BOTH OF THEM ARE EXTRAORDINARILY PROUD.

DEFINITELY, YEAH.

MIGHT BEL, YOU'VE DONE GREAT WORK.

HOPEFULLY THIS IS GOING TO WORK.

WE'LL LET YOU KNOW.

ABSOLUTELY.

AND WE CAN HAVE A CONVERSATION.

THANK YOU.

BUT THANK YOU ALL FOR EVERYTHING THAT YOU'RE DOING.

THANK YOU.

AND FOR YOU ALL TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN HELP THE 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER, VISIT US AT 'METROFOCUS'.ORG.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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