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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.

AIRED: March 18, 2019 | 0:18:09
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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.


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