FDNY firefighter and 9/11 hero Ray Pfiefer was honored with a plaque that now hangs at his firehouse in New York. Ray spent 6 months following 9/11 searching at Ground Zero for those who died in the terrorist attacks and then went on to fight for health coverage that would benefit the first responders who had worked alongside him at the World Trade Center site. Ray never gave up, even while he himself was battling the 9/11-related cancer which eventually took his life. He continues in death to do for others through the Ray Pfeifer Foundation.
Fire Chief Ronald Spadafora, a 40-year veteran with the Fire Department of New York became the 178th member of the FDNY to die of 9/11-related illnesses. Spadafora was the chief of safety for the recovery effort at the World Trade Center. He saw the whole rescue and recovery effort through it’s completion. That meant exposure for several months to the lethal combination of toxic dust and debris. He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in December 2015.
Many first responders, residents, students and workers continue to get sick and die from exposure to dust and debris in the months following 9/11. While the rest of the country has moved forward, countless people have continued to suffer 9/11-related illness and death in the 16 years since September 11, 2001. Programs to help with medical care and costs are in place for those who are eligible, and memorials have been created so we never forget.
9/11 first responders, residents, students and workers are experiencing multiple illnesses that can be traced back to the exposure to toxic dust on September 11, 2001 as well as in the days, weeks and months that followed. Because cancers have a latency period, certain illnesses can take many years before they develop. Programs like the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) can help with medical expenses, economic losses and pain and suffering. The VCF has awarded close to $4 billion to date. The deadline for filing is December 2020.
Image Source: Courtesy of the Prints and Photographs Division. Library of Congress.
In honor of Arbor Day, on Friday and Saturday April 27-28, 2018, the National Park Service, the Friends of Flight 93, and the National Park Foundation will continue a reforestation project to reseed 150,000 trees that will one day grow into new forest at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania.
The September 11th National Memorial Trail Ride is a 23-day bicycling journey which begins on April 11th and will go through May 3rd. All three September 11th Memorial location sites are linked by the 1300-mile September 11th National Memorial Trail. Spanning 17 years, a series of existing and newly developed trails were designed to connect the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville to the World Trade Center memorial in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. While the trail is not yet open to the public, portions of this inaugural ride will welcome others to join at specific locations along the way.
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund is a federally funded program that was created to compensate victims who suffered death, injury or illness resulting from exposure to contaminants on and in the days, weeks and months following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The three affected sites are the NYC Exposure Zone, the Pentagon and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania United Flight 93 crash site.
A proposal to separate the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has drawn criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Jon Stewart attended an event with New York Representatives on Capitol Hill on Monday, March 5, 2018 in an effort to convince White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to abandon the proposal which threatens the health care treatment of 9/11 first responders.