Donovan, King, Golden, Malliotakis Highlight Personal Stories of 9/11 Heroes Relying on Zadroga Act
Brooklyn, NY—November 12, 2015....Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11), Congressman Peter King (NY-2), Senator Martin Golden, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, and dozens of first responders and union presidents today rallied in support of a permanent Zadroga Act extension. The event focused on the personal stories of 9/11 heroes who risked everything to help others at Ground Zero, and now rely on Zadroga Act benefits for treatment, monitoring, and compensation.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch, Detectives Endowment Association President Mike Palladino, Captains Endowment Association President Roy Richter, NYS Court Officers Association President Dennis Quirk, and Lieutenants Benevolent Association First Vice President Stephen Birbiglia, together with members of their respective organizations, spoke about the importance to ill first responders of a permanent Zadroga Act extension.
Congressman Dan Donovan said, “We came together today to focus on the heroes who selflessly rushed toward death and destruction in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks. Many will pay for their heroism for the rest of their lives; some have already paid with their lives. Their stories speak louder than any of us standing behind a podium. It is cancer victims like Ret. Det. John Muller and widows like Jacqui Lopez who are the most forceful voices in support of a permanent Zadroga Act; I thank them for their time, their words, and – most of all – their sacrifice.”
State Senator Martin Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), a former New York City Police Officer, stated, "We must permanently reauthorize the Zadroga Act, for it was during the worst terrorist attack on American soil in the history of our democracy that our first responders were there and stood strong in the face of danger. And now, 14 years later, their health continues to deteriorate because they were not afraid to put their own lives on the line for others. We must take care of these American heroes always."
"Our first responders didn't think twice about selflessly running towards a disaster to save lives and they never do. They always put themselves in harm's way to protect strangers and keep our city and nation safe. Now that they need our help, support and commitment, Washington shouldn't think twice about giving it. These heroes not only deserve to have the Zadroga Act permanently extended, but they have earned it by paying the ultimate price," said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.
Several first responders with 9/11-related conditions delivered moving remarks about their experience after the attacks and how they now rely on the World Trade Center Health Program and Victims Compensation Fund. Retired Detective John Muller spent his free time in the months following September 11, 2001 sifting through rubble and remains at the debris landfill. He took advantage of the WTC Health Program’s regular monitoring services, but was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year. He is now undergoing chemotherapy funded by the WTC Health Program.
Jacqui Lopez, wife of Lt. Luis Lopez who passed away earlier this year from a 9/11-related heart condition, spoke about her late husband’s heroism and sacrifice. Lt. Lopez received treatment, including an external heart pump, through the WTC Health Program. Ms. Lopez has filed for assistance through the Victims Compensation Fund.
On September 11, 2001, retired NYPD Captain Patrick DeSarlo left his pregnant wife and 3-year old daughter at home as he rushed toward the World Trade Center. He spoke today about his lengthy battle with multiple myeloma. The WTC Health Program has funded his treatment, including numerous stem cell transplants.
PBA President Pat Lynch said, “In the days and months after 9/11, our members responded without regard to whether they were on duty or off duty or whether they had adequate safety equipment. They put duty before themselves, and are now suffering because of it. Our country owes them a permanent extension of the Zadroga Act and nothing less. Their illnesses have no expiration date.”
“It is our nation’s moral responsibility to permanently extend the Zadroga Act so thousands of heroes can receive the critical medical treatment they need and deserve,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council, which lost 61 of its members on September 11, 2001 and led the clean-up and re-building efforts at Ground Zero. “Congress must act now to support all of the first responders, construction workers, and others who put their lives on the line to save countless people from harm’s way and throughout the clean-up effort.”
Full List of Speakers
Rep. Dan Donovan (NY-11)
Rep. Peter King (NY-2)
Sen. Martin Golden
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis
Joseph Zadroga, Father of Late Det. James Zadroga
Detectives Endowment Association President Mike Palladino
Ret. Det. John Muller
Ret. Det. George Taylor
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch
Jacqui Lopez, Wife of Late Lt. Luis Lopez
Trystan Mohamed, Son of Late Lt. Brian Mohamed
Lieutenants Benevolent Association First Vice President Stephen Birbiglia
Captains Endowment Association President Roy Richter
Ret. Captain Patrick DeSarlo
Director of Community Affairs & Strategic Initiatives for the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York Santos Rodriguez