MetroFocus: September 9, 2021

JON STEWART AND JOHN FEAL CRUSADE FOR “NO RESPONDERS LEFT BEHIND”

Comedian Jon Stewart has fought for the past decade to ensure 9/11 first responders are never forgotten. The former Daily Show host’s testimony before Congress went viral back in 2019. It was a remarkable speech that rallied support for legislation that’s now helping thousands who got sick around Ground Zero. Stewart would be the first to tell you this wouldn’t have happened without the man sitting behind him that day on Capitol Hill, who joins us tonight. 9/11 responder and advocate John Feal has spent nearly the past two decades championing this cause and advocating for those battling 9/11-related illnesses. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the attacks, these two men and their remarkable journey will be the subject of a new documentary on Discovery Plus titled “No Responders Left Behind.”

For more information on “No Responders Left Behind,” click here.

To learn more about the FealGood Foundation, click here.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER.

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD.

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY.

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> THEY RESPONDED IN FIVE SECONDS.

THEY DID THEIR JOBS, WITH COURAGE, GRACE.

TENACITY, HUMILITY.

18 YEARS LATER, DO YOURS!

THANK YOU.

[ APPLAUSE ] ♪

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

FOR YEARS, COMEDIAN JOHN STUART HAS FOUGHT TO ENSURE THAT SEPTEMBER 11th FIRST RESPONDERS ARE NEVER FORGOTTEN.

THAT CLIP YOU JUST SAW OF THE FORMER DAILY SHOW HOST TESTIFYING BEFORE CONGRESS WENT VIRAL BACK IN 2019.

IT WAS A REMARKABLE SPEECH THAT RALLIED SUPPORT FOR LEGISLATION THAT'S NOW HELPING THOUSANDS WHO GOT SICK AROUND GROUND ZERO.

HE WILL BE THE FIRST TO TELL YOU THAT THIS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE MAN SITTING BEHIND HIM THAT DAY, JOHN FIELD, WHO HAS SPENT NEARLY THE PAST TWO DECADES CHAMPIONING THIS CAUSE.

ON THE EVE OF THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ATTACKS, BOTH ARE THE SUBJECTS OF A NEW DOCUMENT TITLES 'NO RESPONDERS LEFT BEHIND.'

THIS MOMENT WILL BE JOINED BY JOHN.

BUT FIRST HERE IS A PREVIEW OF THE FILM THAT WILL BE STREAMING ON DISCOVERY PLUS.

AS I SIT HERE TODAY, I CAN'T HELP BUT THINK WHAT AN INCREDIBLE METAPHOR THIS ROOM IS FOR THE ENTIRE PROCESS THAT GETTING HEALTH CARE AND BENEFITS FOR 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS HAS COME TO.

THIS COUNTRY WAS BASED AND FORMED ON VOLUNTEERISM AND THOSE WHO WENT TO 9/11 VOLUNTARILY ARE PAYING THE ULTIMATE PRICE.

PTSD, LUNGS, COUGH.

ONE OF THE FIRST BILLS I GOT WAS $200,000.

I SEE ALL THESE GUYS MARRIED WITH KIDS, THEY'RE LOSING HOUSES, THEIR HEALTH.

JOHN IS AN EXTRAORDINARY PERSON.

HE ORGANIZED ALL THE FIRST RESPONDERS.

TODAY HUNDREDS OF FIRST RESPONDERS, SURVIVORS AND FAMILY WILLS BE MARCHING IN MISSION.

WE'RE ON A MISSION.

WE'RE HELPING 9/11 VOLUNTEERS AND SURVIVORS.

I KNOW YOU LEFT THE BUSINESS.

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU MADE THE RIGHT MOVE?

OF COURSE HE MADE THE RIGHT MOVE.

THE COMBINATION OF JOHN FEEL AND JOHN STEE WART WAS PURE MAGIC.

WE HAVE HAD TO FIGHT, OVERCOME EVERY OBSTACLE, EVERY HURDLE FOR ALMOST 18 YEARS.

IT IS JUST LIKE ONE THING AFTER ANOTHER.

YOU ALL SAID YOU WOULD NEVER FORGET.

WELL, I'M HERE TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON'T.

SOMETHING LIKE THIS TAKES THIS LONG AND IS THIS HARD, SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THAT SYSTEM.

FOR MORE NOW ON THE FILM AND THE ONGOING EFFORTS TO HELP THOSE IMPACTED BY 9/11, WE'RE PLEASED TO HAVE JOHN FIELD BACK WITH US AGAIN.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME, JACK.

AND GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

LET ME START THIS CONVERSATION BY LOOKING AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN ALL OF THIS.

HOW AND WHY DID YOU GET TO GROUND ZERO TO AID IN THE RECOVERY EFFORTS?

YEAH, GOOD QUESTION.

YOU KNOW, PEOPLE, MOST PEOPLE IN AMERICA OR AROUND THE WORLD, THINK FIREFIGHTERS WHO RAN INTO HARM'S WAY, MANY OF THEM DIED THAT DAY, BUT THEN THERE WAS ANOTHER WAVE THAT WORK EED SAVE LIVES AND SADLY THAT WASN'T THE CASE.

BUT THE NON-UNIFORM WORKER, THE ARMY OF THE NON-UNIFORM WORKER OUTNUMBERED THOSE COPS AND FIREFIGHTERS 5:1.

LISTEN, THEY WOULD STILL BE CLEANING UP GROUND ZERO TODAY IF THOSE TRADESMEN AND THOSE UNION WORKERS DIDN'T COME INTO GROUND ZERO AND DO WHAT THEY DID.

YOU KNOW, THEY'RE HEROES JUST AS MUCH BECAUSE NONE OF THEM ARE TRAINED TO DO WHAT THEY DID.

YOU TALK ABOUT THAT, THE IDEA OF -- OF THIS RUSH BY SO MANY PEOPLE.

YEAH.

SAYING THAT WE NEED TO BE THERE, TO DO WHATEVER WE CAN TO HELP.

AS YOU SAID, SADLY IN THE BEGINNING THE THOUGHT WAS LET'S SEE IF WE COULD SAVE LIVES AND IT BECAME UNFORTUNATELY NOT THAT.

BUT SO MANY PEOPLE SHOWED UP THERE.

YOU WERE ONE OF THEM.

WHEN DID YOU, WHEN YOU WERE ON THE SITE THERE, WHEN DID YOU START TO THINK: I WONDER IF WE SHOULD HAVE MORE PROTECTION?

OR IF THERE IS SOMETHING MORE THAT SHOULD BE DONE HERE?

WELL, I GOT THERE 13, 14 HOURS AFTER IT HAPPENED, AND, ONE, I HAD TO GET PASSED THE SHOCK AND AWE OF WHAT I WITNESSED.

AND THEN I HAD TO GET PASSED BEING HUMBLED.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

WELL, YOU ARE JUST NOT PROGRAMMED TOIC WA UP IN THE MORNING AND SEE THE MAGNITUDE.

IT IS HARD TO BRUSH A LANDSCAPE HERE AND SAY, OH, MY GOD.

I JUST SAW A BUILDING COME DOWN.

THIS WAS ACRES AND ACRES OF DESTRUCTION AND CARNAGE.

WHILE NOW 20 YEARS LATER, I CAN BLOCK THAT OUT.

I CANNOT BLOCK OUT THAT SMELL THAT WILL HAUNT ME.

IF YOU ASK ANY 9/11 RESPONDERS, IT IS USUALLY THE SMELL THAT WE REMEMBER.

BUT WE, WITHIN DAYS, WERE COMPLAINING OF OUR THROATS, OUR NOISES, OUR EYES.

JACK, WE SLEPT THERE, WE ATE THERE, WE WENT TO THE BATHROOM THERE.

THE ABSORPTION OF THOSE TOXINS MADE US SICK.

WE NO LONGER HAVE TO PROVE THAT 9/11 MADE US SICK.

THEY HAVE TO PROVE TO 9/11 DIDN'T MAKE US SICK.

BUT THOSE COMPLAINTS WERE EARLY AND THEY WERE OFTEN.

BUT PEOPLE HAD A JOB TO DO AND THEY HAD A MISSION, AND THAT MISSION WAS TO SEARCH, RECOVERY, CLEAN UP AND GET A LOST CITY AND A BROKEN COUNTRY BACK UP AND RUNNING.

WHAT WAS IT THAT CAUSED YOUR -- WHAT'S CALLED A TRANSFORMATION, IF YOU WILL, FROM SOMEBODY WHO SHOWED UP ALONG WITH SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE AND YOU ARE ALWAYS VERY, VERY CAREFUL TO TALK ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE THERE.

WHAT WAS IT THAT CAUSED YOU TO GO FROM THAT TO BECOMING AN ADVOCATE?

YEAH.

FOR THE HEALTH AND THE RIGHTS AND THE SAFETY OF ALL THESE PEOPLE?

WHY DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NEEDED TO PICK UP THE MEGAPHONE, IF YOU WILL, AND CHAMPION THIS CAUSE?

WELL, IT'S A COUPLE REASONS.

MAN, YOU'RE STARTING OFF WITH SOME SERIOUS GOOD QUESTIONS TODAY.

YOU'RE GOOD.

YOU'RE GOOD AT YOUR CRAFT, JACK.

YOU KNOW, I DIDN'T HAVE JOHN FIELD AND THE FIELD FOUNDATION TO HELP JOHN FIELD.

I HAD TO LEARN THE HARD WAY.

WORKMAN'S COMP, SOCIAL SECURITY.

AND I WAS GETTING DENIED.

AND THEN I WORKED FOR A PRIVATE COMPANY WHO SUBBED ME OUT TO ANOTHER COMPANY WHO SUBBED ME OUT TO ANOTHER COMPANY AND THEY SUED EACH OTHER NOT TO PAY MY MEDICAL WEEKS.

11 WEEKS IN THE HOSPITAL AND 7 SURGERIES GETS A LITTLE EXPENSIVE.

YOU KNOW, MY INJURY -- MY FIVE AND A HALF DAYS THERE, MY INJURY WHILE GRUESOME AND HORRIFIC WILL NEVER DEFINE ME.

IT IS MY MOTHER'S WORDS AND THE WAY SHE RAISED ME.

I DIDN'T NEED TO KNOW 9/11 TO KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG.

I NEVER WANTED TO DO THIS.

THIS WAS THROWN AT ME, AND I JUST RAN WITH IT.

HERE WE ARE 20 YEARS LATER.

AND I KNOW I'M CLOSER TO THE FINISH LINE THAN WHEN I STARTED.

BUT WE STILL HAVE SO MUCH MORE WORK TO DO AND SO MANY MORE ISSUES TO ADDRESS AND TACKLE.

LISTEN, I ENJOY WORKING WITH THAT NOT SO FAMOUS COMEDIAN JOHN STUART.

I'M GOING TO GET TO JOHN IN A MOMENT.

AND, AGAIN, I HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE OF TALKING WITH THE TWO OF YOU ABOUT ALL OF THIS A YEAR OR TWO AGO ON OUR PROGRAM HERE.

BUT YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING INTERESTING, WHICH IS YOU DIDN'T NEED TO BE WORKING THERE TO KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG.

THAT'S SOMETHING YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR MOTHER.

AS WE SIT HERE 20 YEARS LATER AND WITH PAIN STILL APPARENT FOR SO MANY REASONS, AS WE LOOK BACK ON THIS AND WE LOOK AT THE IDEA OF PROVIDING AID AND CARE FOR ALL OF THESE PEOPLE, IT SEEMS TO US LIKE, WELL, THAT'S SUCH A SIMPLE QUESTION.

OF COURSE WE WOULD DO THAT.

YET, IT WASN'T THAT FOR A LONG TIME.

SO LET ME TAKE YOU THROUGH THAT PART OF THE JOURNEY, ALL RIGHT?

SO WHEN YOU FIRST WENT TO CONGRESS TO ASK FOR HELP HERE, WHAT WAS THE INITIAL REACTION YOU GOT FROM CONGRESS?

NO.

WE WERE MAKING IT UP.

WE WEREN'T SICK.

WE WERE CRAZY.

IT'S IN OUR HEAD.

THEN THEY DEMONIZED ME.

I WAS A LOOSE CANNON.

I WAS A PISTOL.

I WAS WRRECKLESS.

HERE'S THE THING.

SCIENCE AND MATH CAUGHT UP TO US AND GAVE US VALIDITY AND NOW WE LOOK LIKE WE'RE SCIENTISTS AND WE'RE PHDs.

SO, YOU KNOW, WE ALL STARTED ON THE SAME PLAYING FIELD FOR 9/11.

NOBODY WENT TO SCHOOL FOR 9/11.

INDIVIDUALLY EACH TOXIN WILL KILL YOU OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.

THOUSANDS OF TOXINS IN THE AIR.

THAT WAS SOMETHING NO DOCTOR OR SCIENTIST EVER SAW BEFORE.

SO FOR A MEMBER OF CONGRESS OR THE SENATE TO SAY WE WERE MAKING IT UP, IT WAS INSULT TO INJURY.

YOU KNOW, A LOT OF TIMES, THEY WERE INSULTING AND YOU WANTED TO COME OUT OF CHARACTER AND SAY SOMETHING THAT YOU SHOULDN'T.

I LOOK BACK NOW, AND I'M KIND OF GLAD I DIDN'T BECAUSE IF MY MOTHER WAS ALIVE, SHE WOULD HAVE SAID GOOD JOB AND THEN SMACKED ME IN THE BACK OF MY HEAD.

BUT MY MOM RAISED ME -- SHE WAS MY MOTHER, MY FATHER, MY BEST FRIEND AND MY CONFIDANT.

AND HER PASSING IN 2006 IS WORSE THAN MY INJURY ON 9/17/01.

BUT I LIVE ACCORDING TO THE WAY SHE RAISED ME, AND THAT'S TO FIGHT FOR THOSE WHO CAN'T FIGHT FOR THEMSELVES.

THAT'S TO STICK UP FOR THOSE WHO ARE NO LONGER ABLE TO STICK UP FOR THEMSELVES.

I DID THAT IN HIGH SCHOOL WHEN THERE WAS A BULLY.

AND I DO THAT IN LIFE NOW.

I'M NEVER GOING TO CHANGE.

I'M NEVER GOING TO CONFORM TO WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE'S NORMS ARE.

I CHOOSE TO REMEMBER 9/11 AND BLOCK OUT THOSE FIVE AND A HALF DAYS OF REALLY DARK, DARK PERIOD OF MY LIFE.

AND I'LL REMEMBER THE EMPATHY AND THE HUMANITY THAT SHINED THROUGH, THE GOOD THAT TRIUMPHED OVER EVIL.

THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO CHOOSE TO REMEMBER AND THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO HOLD ON TO BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE THOUGHTS THAT GET ME THROUGH THE DAY.

I SEE SO MUCH PAIN AND SUFFERING EVERY DAY FROM SO MANY PEOPLE THAT WERE HELPING STILL.

AND I CAN'T GO BACK 20 YEARS.

I WON'T ALLOW MYSELF.

YOU KNOW, BUT I DO USE MY INJURY AS A MOTIVATOR.

I MEAN, I WAKE UP EVERY MORNING, AND I SEE A HALF A FOOT, AND I SAY, I DIDN'T COME THIS FAR TO JUST COME THIS FAR.

AND I KNOW I GOT A LOT MORE WORK TO DO, YOU KNOW.

AND IF I THINK I'M HAVING A BAD DAY, I'M HAVING A DAY.

AND A BAD DAY IS BETTER THAN NO DAY.

AND I'M NEVER GOING TO COMPLAIN IN FRONT OF ANYBODY.

NOW IF YOU ARE HAVING A BEER AT MY HOUSE, I MIGHT COMPLAIN TO YOU BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

YOU KNOW, IT IS A GREAT MESSAGE FOR ANYBODY DEALING WITH ANY -- ANYBODY DEALING WITH ADVERSITY.

LET ME BOUNCE BACK FOR A SECOND.

YOU MENTIONED JOHN STEWARD.

WE TALKED ABOUT HIM IN THE INTRODUCTION.

WE SAW SOME OF WHAT HE HAD TO SAY TO CONGRESS, YOU SITTING BEHIND HIM IN 2019.

BUT I KNOW THAT THERE WAS ACTUALLY A TIME ABOUT A DECADE EARLIER THAT -- THAT WAS A MOMENT THAT HAD AN IMPACT HERE.

TELL US ABOUT THAT.

YEAH.

YOU KNOW, IN 2010, EVERYBODY ALWAYS ASKED HOW DID JOHN AND -- HOW DID WE MEET?

AND I WAS GETTING READY TO LEAVE FOR D.C. AND JOHN CALLS ME.

HE SAID, YOU'RE GOING TO COME ON MY SHOW TONIGHT AND I'M GOING TO HELP YOU GET A BILL PASSED.

I SAID, I CAN'T.

HE WAS TAKEN ABACK LIKE WHO AM I TO SAY NO TO HIM.

I SAID, I HAVE TO FINISH WHAT I STARTED.

HE'S LIKE GIVE ME FOUR GUYS I.

ASSUME YOU'RE WORTH FOUR GUYS AND YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO.

I GAVE HIM FOUR GUYS THAT NIGHT AND MY OTHER GUYS AND ME, WE WENT TO D.C.

AND WE GOT LUCKY.

WE GOT A BILL PASSED.

TELL ME ABOUT -- I WANT TO GO BACK TO WHEN YOU'RE BACK TO D.C.

AGAIN AND YOU'RE TALKING WITH LEGISLATORS.

AND YOU MENTIONED THIS A FEW MOMENTS AGO.

THEY WERE RAISING QUESTIONS SUCH AS, YOU KNOW, WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THE COST OF THIS?

YEAH.

IT WOULD BE OVERWHELMING.

HOW ABOUT THE POTENTIAL FOR FRAUD?

YEAH.

WHAT DID YOU SAY TO THEM WHEN THEY RAISED THOSE QUESTIONS WITH YOU?

WELL, IN 2010, THAT FIRST BILL WAS A FIVE-YEAR BILL, AND IT WAS KIND OF LIKE A LITMUS TEST TO ENSURE THAT THERE WAS NO FRAUD, NO ABUSE OF SPENDING, NOBODY GETTING IN THE PROGRAM THAT SHOULDN'T BE.

KEEP IN MIND, THERE WAS AN AMENDMENT MADE IN 2010.

EVERY 9/11 RESPONDER WHO FILES A CLAIM HAS TO HAVE A BACKGROUND CHECK TO SEE IF THEY'RE A TERRORIST.

SO KIND OF INSULTING, RIGHT?

BUT, YEAH, WE PROVED THERE WAS NO FRAUD.

AND THEN IN 2015 WE EXTENDED THE HEALTH CARE TO 2090.

IN 2019, WE EXTENDED THE COMPENSATION TO 2090 TO COINCIDE WITH THE HEALTH CARE.

BUT THOSE CONVERSATIONS OVER THE YEARS CHANGED BECAUSE WE WENT FROM PLEADING AND BEGGING TO DEMANDING TO SAYING, LOOK, DO THIS NOW OR WE'RE JUST GOING TO MAKE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE.

WE WENT FROM THAT LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD TO THAT ENGINE THAT DID TO WE WILL STEAM ROLL YOU IF YOU GET IN OUR WAY.

I DON'T SAY THAT LIGHTLY BECAUSE IT'S NOT THE WAY I CONDUCT MYSELF IN LIFE.

BUT WHEN HUMAN LIFE IS AT STAKE, WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE DYING, PEOPLE WHO DID HEROIC THINGS THAT ARE DYING AND YOU HAVE THE POSITION AND POWER TO HELP AND YOU DON'T, THEN WE TURN THE SCREWS.

YOU KNOW, AND FOR THEM TO SAY THEY HAVE NO MONEY, I SEE ALL THIS LINE IN THE BOOK, THEY HAVE MARBLE HALLWAYS.

THEY HAVE MONEY.

THEIR STAIRCASES ARE MARBLE.

THEY HAVE STATUES EVERYWHERE.

THEIR PAINTINGS IN THE HALLWAYS ARE WORTH MORE THAN MY HOUSE.

WE'RE ONCE AGAIN TALKING WITH JOHN FIELD ABOUT THE UPCOMING FILM TITLED 'NO FIRST RESPONSERS LEFT BEHIND' STREAMING ON DISCOVERY PLUS AND ALSO THE CONTINUING EFFORTS TO MAKE SURE THAT CARE IS PROVIDED FOR THOSE IMPACTED.

I'M GOING TO GET IN A FEW MOMENTS TO YOU.

I WANT TO TALK WITH YOU ABOUT WHO ACTUALLY CAN OBTAIN THIS HEALTH AND UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES, WHAT THEY HAVE TO DO FOR IT.

LET ME JUST FINISH UP SOME OF THE THOUGHTS HERE ABOUT YOU'RE WORKING WITH CONGRESS.

SO YOU SAID IN 2010 THERE IS SOMETHING THAT'S PASSED FOR FIVE YEARS.

YOU HAVE TO GO BACK.

JOHN STUART SAYS IN THE FILM GOING BACK IN 2015 YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT THIS WAS A NO BRAINER.

HOW CAN YOU FIND A BETTER, MORE IMPACTFUL CAUSE TO BRING TO THE DESKS OF LEGISLATORS TO SAY, OKAY, NOW, WE HAVE ESTABLISHED THEM FOR FIVE YEARS, YOU NEED TO DO THIS.

WAS THAT THE CASE IN 2015?

YEAH.

YOU KNOW, WE WERE DUMBFOUNDED THAT IT TOOK SO LONG.

EVERY TRIP TO D.C. AND THERE WAS OVER 300 TRIPS AND OVER 1,800 MEETINGS WAS AN EYE OPENER.

AND, YOU KNOW, DEPENDING ON THE INDIVIDUAL, YOU KNOW, THEY SAY POLITICS AND RELIGION DIVIDE US.

GEOGRAPHY DIVIDES US LITERALLY AND SOMEBODY IN OREGON OR MINNESOTA OR TEXAS JUST REALLY DOESN'T CARE WHAT HAPPENED IN NEW YORK, AND THEY HAVE ALWAYS MADE THIS A NEW YORK ISSUE.

BUT THE LAST TIME I CHECKED IT WAS THE UNITED STATES THAT WAS ATTACKED IN THREE DIFFERENT TERRORIST SITES.

YOU KNOW, THESE CONVERSATIONS WENT FROM MILD TO VERY HEATED, VERY CONTENTIOUS, CROSSING THE LINE OF -- YOU KNOW, JACK, IMAGINE ANY CURSE WORD FROM A TO Z, AND, AGAIN, SOMETHING I'M NOT PROUD OF, BUT SOMETHING I'M NEVER GOING TO APOLOGIZE FOR BECAUSE, AGAIN, YOU KNOW, IT -- WHEN WE HAD A MEETING AND WE DID 20, 30, 40 MEETINGS A DAY, WE DID OUR HOMEWORK ON THE INDIVIDUALS WE WERE MEETING WITH.

AND THEN WE SAW EVERYTHING THEY SAID ON THE PREVIOUS 9/11s AND THEIR PATRIOTIC STATEMENTS AND THEN WE PRINTED THEM OUT.

WHEN WE WENT INTO THOSE ME MEETINGS, WE THREW THAT STATEMENT IN THEIR FACE.

BUT AS WE EVOLVED, WE GREW.

AND WE COULD THEN TAKE ANYBODY IN ANY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IN THE UNITED STATES AND PUT THEM IN THEIR HOME OFFICE INSTEAD OF D.C. AND POLITICS BACK HOME IS PERSONAL.

MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS AND THE SENATE DIDN'T LIKE THAT.

AND THEN WE HAD THEIR PHONES BLOWING UP.

THEN WE HAD THEIR E-MAILS BLOWING UP.

THEN WE WENT TO SOCIAL MEDIA.

ALL THE UNIONS THAT DID WHAT THEY HAD TO DO AND BOOTS ON THE GROUND, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE MEDIA WERE TRULY, TRULY THE CHAMPIONS OF THIS BECAUSE IT TOOK A VILLAGE.

JOHN STUART HAS BEEN VERY, VERY CAREFUL TO REPEATEDLY SAY, LOOK, THIS IS NOT ME.

THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE INVOLVED.

AND OBVIOUSLY HE TURNS TO YOU IMMEDIATELY AND YOU AND THE FEEL GOOD FOUNDATION AND SO MANY OTHERS OUT THERE AND WHO HAVE BEEN WORKING AT THIS FOR SO LONG FOR SO MANY YEARS.

HE'S VERY CAREFUL TO DO THAT.

BUT HE WAS A PHYSICAL AND I MOTIONAL PRESENCE FOR YOU.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE IMPACT WAS?

HOW IMPORTANT WAS JOHN STUART, DO YOU THINK?

IN ADDITION --

JOHN'S WORDS ECHOED ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

I'M CONVINCED, AND I TELL JOHN THIS ALL THE TIME, WE WOULD HAVE GOT THE BILL PASSED WITHOUT HIM.

I JUST DON'T FAIL.

NOW I DON'T WANT TO TEST THAT THEORY.

BUT THE BILLS WOULD HAVE GOT PASSED WITHOUT HIM.

MY WILL IS STRONGER THAN THEIR POLITICS.

WE PROVED THAT.

WE HAD A GAME PLAN THAT COULD BEAT THEM.

WE PROVED THAT.

JOHN JUST OPENED UP AMERICA'S EYES TO WHAT WE WERE GOING THROUGH AND ALLOWED US TO GAIN ALLIES TO BRING INTO THE FORUM FOR THE BATTLE.

AND JOHN HAS THAT FORUM AND THAT PLATFORM AND THE ABILITY THAT PEOPLE WILL GALVANIZE AROUND AND GRAVITATE TOWARDS.

AND JOHN WAS A TOOL IN MY TOOL BOX.

AND THAT WAS THE MOST EXPENSIVE TOOL I HAD.

AND IT WAS USED WISELY.

YOU KNOW, JOHN WENT TO D.C. WITH US A TOTAL OF SIX TIMES.

AND EACH TIME WAS SO EFFECTIVE BECAUSE IT MOVED THE -- IT MOVED THE BALL DOWN THE FIELD.

AND EVERY TIME CONGRESS AND THE SENATE TRIED TO MOVE THE GOAL LINE ON US, JOHN GOT US BACK IN THE GAME AND CLOSER.

AND MY MEN AND WOMEN, UNIFORM AND NON-UNIFORM WHO WERE SICK AND DYING THAT WALKED TO CONGRESS, DESERVED ALL THE CREDIT BECAUSE THEY WENT FROM MEETING TO MEETING TO MEETING GETTING BEAT UP CONSTANTLY THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY THEY WERE ALL JUST LIMPING TO THEIR CARS AND DRIVING HOME SIX, SEVEN HOURS CRYING.

YOU KNOW, THESE WERE EMOTIONALLY PHYSICALLY DRAINING TRIPS TO D.C.

I HOPE THAT MOVIE SHOWS WHAT THESE MEN AND WOMEN WENT THROUGH BECAUSE THESE MEN AND WOMEN WERE HEROES ON 9/11 AND THE DAYS THAT FOLLOWED, BUT THEY WERE HEROES FOR TAKING THE FIGHT TO CONGRESS FOR TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THAT COULDN'T BE THERE WITH US.

LET ME TALK ABOUT THE PROGRAM AND WHAT'S IN PLACE NOW BECAUSE I THINK MANY PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW EXACTLY WHO IS ELIGIBLE.

YEAH.

FOR THESE TYPES OF PROTECTIONS.

A LOT OF PEOPLE MIGHT THINK, WELL, IF YOU'RE ON THE PILE, YOU'RE ELIGIBLE.

BUT THAT'S NOT THE CASE.

TELL US WHO IS.

SO IF YOU WERE AT ANY OF THE THREE TERRORIST ATTACKS, IF YOU WERE A 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER, RESPONDER OR VOLUNTEER, YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO GO INTO THE PROGRAM.

NOW SAY YOU ARE NOT SICK, BUT YOU STILL GO IN THE PROGRAM ANYWAY AND YOU GET MONITORED AND YOU WOULD TAKE A PHYSICAL EVERY YEAR UNTIL YOU DO GET SICK AND YOU HAVE A 60% HIGHER RISK THAN THE GENERAL POPULATION THAT YOU WILL GET SICK EVENTUALLY.

AND THEN AFTER YOU TAKE YOUR PHYSICAL, NOW WHAT YOU GET DIAGNOSED WITH BUT WHAT YOUR ILLNESSES ARE CERTIFIED WITH UNDER THE COMPENSATION ACT, YOU HAVE TWO YEARS STARTING ON THAT DATE TO FILE A CLAIM TO GET COME S PEN SATED.

IN NEW YORK, IF YOU WORKED ON -- WORKED, LIVED OR WENT TO SCHOOL LOWER THAN HOUSING STREET, YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE PROGRAM.

SO, I MEAN, CDC.GOV, BCF.GOV, THEY WILL HAVE WEBSITES TO SHOW THE ELIGIBILITY AND THE CRITERIAS.

WE IMPLORE EVERYBODY TO GET IN THE PROGRAM BECAUSE --

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO -- BECAUSE I'M SURE PEOPLE WOULD SAY, WELL, IT'S GOT TO BE CONFUSING.

IT'S GOT TO BE HARD.

I DON'T WANT A LAWYER.

DO I NEED A DOCTOR?

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO SOMEBODY THAT COMES UP TO YOU AND SAYS, HEY, I NEED SOME HELP.

HOW DO I DO IT?

DO IT.

PEOPLE CAN CALL AND E-MAIL ME AND THEY'RE BOTH ON THE WEBSITE AT FEELGOODFOUNDATION.COM.

LISTEN, MY IQ HOVERS AROUND ROOM TEMPERATURES, AND I WAS I BELIEVE TO DO IT.

BUT, YOU KNOW, JACK, THE FURTHER WE GET AWAY FROM 9/11, IT IS HARDER FOR PEOPLE TO GET AFFIDAVITS.

SO WE'RE TELLING PEOPLE NOW GET INTO THE PROGRAM EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT SICK AND WE CAN WAREHOUSE THOSE, WE CAN SHELVE THOSE AFFIDAVITS FOR WHEN YOU DO GET SICK BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO GET SICK.

IT IS JUST A MATTER OF TIME.

YOU KNOW, THE FURTHER WE GET AWAY FROM 9/11, YOU KNOW THE AVERAGE AGE OF THE RESPONDER WAS 39.5 YEARS OLD.

NOW YOU ARE LOOKING AT 59, 60.

WHAT AGE HUMBLES YOU?

NOW ADD ALL OF THESE ILLNESSES AND MORE AND MORE PEOPLE GETTING SICK AND MORE AND MORE PEOPLE DYING.

YOU KNOW, THIS YEAR ON SEPTEMBER 18th, AT MY PARK ON LONG ISLAND, WE ADDED 293 NAMES.

THAT'S A LOT, JACK.

293 HEROES WILL HAVE THEIR NAMES READ, AND IT'S GETTING WORSE.

IT'S NOT GETTING BETTER.

BUT GETTING INTO THESE PROGRAMS GIVES THEM A FIGHTING CHANCE TO FIGHT THEIR ILLNESSES, GET FREE HEALTH CARE AND GOD FORBID THEY WERE TO PASS AWAY, THEIR FAMILIES ARE NOT LEFT FINANCIALLY RUINED ANYMORE.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

AGAIN, I HAVE SAID THE FILM IS TITLED 'NO RESPONDERS LEFT BEHIND' STREAMING ON DISCOVERY PLUS.

IT'S IMPACTFUL.

IT'S MOVING.

IT'S AN IMPORTANT FILM.

YOU LIVED IT.

ARE YOU GOING TO WATCH IT?

YEAH.

YOU KNOW, I'VE HAD THE CHANCE TO SEE IT, AND I CHOSE NOT TO.

I WANT TO WATCH IT ON TV IN THE PRIVACY OF MY OWN HOME BY MYSELF.

I'M GOING TO -- I'LL PROBABLY CRY.

BUT I HOPE AMERICA AND THE WORLD, WHOEVER IS WATCHING IT, PUTS THEMSELVES IN OUR SHOES.

JOIN US WHILE WE WERE GOING TO D.C. AND SEE WHAT IT'S LIKE TO TRAVEL DOWN 95, STOP, TAKE MEDICATION, GET IN CAR, STOP, TAKE MEDICATION, GET TO HOTEL, TAKE MEDICATION, HAVE DINNER, HAVE MEETING, GET MARCHING ORDERS FOR THE NEXT DAY AND TACKLE CONGRESS AND FIGHT WITH TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.

THE EMOTIONAL TOLL, THE PHYSICAL TOLL, THE MENTAL TOLL ON THESE MEN AND WOMEN, THEY'RE MY HEROES BECAUSE I BEGGED THEM TO GO TO D.C. WITH ME WHEN THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO, AND THEY CHOSE TO GO TO D.C.

AND I'M GOING TO BE PAYING THEM BACK THE REST OF MY LIFE.

JOHN, ONCE AGAIN, THE FILM IS ENTITLES NO RESPONDERS LEFT BEHIND.

IT IS MOVING.

IT'S IMPACTFUL.

IT IS AN IMPORTANT FILM I THINK FOR SO MANY REASONS.

AND WE ARE SO THANKFUL TO YOU, THE FEEL GOOD FOUNDATION, JOHN STUART, ALL OF THESE PEOPLE THAT WORKED ON IT FOR SO MANY YEARS TO GET THIS DONE AND SO MANY PEOPLE WILL BE BETTER OFF BECAUSE OF THAT.

AND MY LAST THOUGHT FOR YOU IS YOU TALKED BEFORE ABOUT YOUR MOM, YOU KNOW, YOUR MOM WOULD BE VERY PROUD OF YOU.

SHE WOULD BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU DID, JOHN.

THANK YOU.

I APPRECIATE IT, JACK.

THANK YOU, SIR.

TAKE CARE.

BYE.

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