Never Forget the Heroes: The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Act (S. 3591 / H.R. 7062)

FORGOTTEN – The lost Heroes & Widows of September 11th

This is a post I never thought I would have to write (again), but I should have known better.

You see, I spent twenty years as a cop in New York City. I learned early on that when the camera lights dim and the T.V. satellite trucks leave, the tragedy of the crime scene is quickly forgotten. In the days and weeks following the September 11th terrorist attacks we were told by the leaders of this great nation, who obligingly wrapped themselves in the flag for the photo-ops, that America would simply #NeverForget the heroes, yet 17 years later I can confirm to you that we have indeed been forgotten.

The reality is that the September 11th attack is not a distant memory. We are quickly approaching the time where we will have lost just as many to 9/11 attributed illnesses as we did on the day of the attack. The aftermath of the attack has never ended.

Those of us who responded that fateful day were aware of the dangers we faced, even after being lied to by the ‘Honorable’ Christine Todd Whitman, who was then head of the EPA, that the air was safe. Ms. Whitman now regrets her role in perpetuating the lie. Gee thanks for nothing, Chrissy. Anyone who was there can tell you that there was nothing even remotely safe, including the air, but they did their jobs without consideration of the risks. Unfortunately, as soon as the sicknesses began to set in, the politicians, like those T.V. crews, packed up and moved on.

“Heroes, what heroes?”

It took nearly a decade to get the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act passed.

As a Republican, I am profoundly ashamed to say that it was my party that stood in the way. What should have been a bill that both sides could have rallied around became a political football, with Republicans threatening to filibuster the bill unless they got tax-cut concessions. Apparently #NeverForget the Heroes is politician-speak for: “What can I get out of this?”

In 2015, politicians were once again shamed into backing an extension of the bill and once again it was the Republicans who dragged their heels. Amazingly, when it comes to their pet projects they are all about funding, but when it comes to helping out people who have truly earned it, they all become die-hard fiscal conservatives.

Now here we are, in 2018, and funding is again running out. And just like in the past, these same politicians need to be shamed into acting.

In 2015, my congressional representative, Rodney Davis, was on record saying the following:  “We will never forget. I remember we were on vacation and I was getting Toryn ready to go to the beach when a plane hit the second tower 14 years ago. Where were you?”

Well Rodney, I can tell you I wasn’t at no friggin’ beach like you were! But you already knew that (hint: Rodney and I used to be on a first name basis a few years ago, but then he got elected to congress and forgot about the people who supported him.)

Sadly, I had to shame Mr. Davis (How “Never Forget the Heroes of 9/11” turned into “Who?”) before he finally signed on as a co-sponsor for the 2015 extension

Back then I got a form letter e-mail response from him, something to the effect that he would be ‘looking into it.’ This time I didn’t even get so much as an e-mail acknowledgment (Perhaps it is lost in the internet). So, it looks like I am going to have to do it all over again. Who knows, perhaps he might even find himself in a contested election, the next time around…… You know, by an actual hero who won’t forget.

The sad reality is that the men and women who rushed in to help on September 11th, 2001, are sick and DYING and a lot of politicians would just be happy to see them go quietly into the grave. They are losing their homes because they are having to choose between receiving medical treatments or keeping a roof over their families head. Widows are being nickel and dimed to death through award ‘deductions’ in what the system cheerfully calls “collateral assets”…….. Funny how the Victim’s Compensation Fund is making victims out of us a 2nd time around.

I know we all have our problems, our own issues, but I am begging each and every one of you to stop for just a moment and please contact your elected representative and urge them to sponsor this bill. If they are a member of the Senate it is S. 3591 and if they are a member of the House it is H.R. 7062. Of all the things they can slash, it shouldn’t be the health benefits of those who gave every last measure that tragic day.

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These are the facts today:

  • The more than 42,000 people who are in the World Trade Center Health Program are suffering from at least one certified 9/11 condition caused by toxins at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and the Shanksville crash site, while a large percentage have multiple conditions.

  • Chronic diseases like asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and cancer continue to plague those who were exposed to the many toxins and carcinogens on 9/11 and in the weeks and months thereafter.

  • Over 9,300 of those enrolled in the Health Program have been certified with a 9/11 related cancer, with more being diagnosed every day. Thousands more who have been diagnosed with cancer are only now joining the health program, so these numbers will increase dramatically.

  • 9/11 responders and survivors in the Health Program reside in all 50 states and in 434 out of 435 Congressional districts.

Interview - The Authors Show

I recently had the honor and privilege of being interviewed by Linda Thompson for The Authors Show. It is an online radio outlet that interviews authors from a wide variety of genres.

My interview will play for twenty-four (24) hours on October 9th. You can access the interview by clicking on the link below, scrolling down to the date and selecting the book title: PERFECT PAWN

Hope you enjoy and feel free to share this with other readers you know.

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Ride to Remember 9/11 – Hall’s Harley Davidson, Springfield, Il.

Yesterday I had the distinct honor and privilege to be part of an amazing memorial to honor the heroes of September 11th. The event, organized by Hall’s Harley Davidson in Springfield, Illinois, is a motorcycle ride to remember those lost in that horrific attack. I would like to personally thank Stan & Pat Hall, Diane & Larry Hughes, and Theresa Jones Unger. Not only were they kind enough to include us in this event, but they made us feel like family.

I have done speaking events in the past and they are always very emotional, as I remember those we lost that day and those who continue to suffer through illness brought on by exposure to toxins at Ground Zero, but to be surrounded by so many patriotic folks restores my faith that those who sacrificed everything that fateful day will never be forgotten.

These gatherings seem to happen at such a quick pace that it is impossible for me to remember all the amazing people that I get to meet, from the military veterans to the young school kids who weren’t even born when the Towers fell. It might just be a quick handshake or brief conversation, but for that moment I am reminded of just how far-reaching the impact of 9/11 was to this entire nation. To them I would just like to say that your kindness and warmth are truly touching and I thank you all.

I would be remiss if I didn’t extend my sincere thanks to Springfield, Illinois Mayor Jim Langfelder and Fire Marshal Chris Richmond who both went out of their way to make me feel welcome at the event. I would also like to thank Cymphanie Sherman, from WICS Channel 20, for interviewing me about the attack and the first responders who continue to suffer with illnesses attributed to exposure at Ground Zero.

If you are in the Springfield, Illinois area, mark your calendar for next year’s memorial ride: September 8th, 2019 and if you are ever in the area, please stop by and thank the staff at Hall’s Harley Davidson for being the true patriots that they are.

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Thank you and God bless.


Book Release: Where Was God?

I just wanted to let everyone know that my latest book, Where Was God? An NYPD first responder's search for answers following the terror attack of September 11th 2001, is now available in both e-book and print through Amazon.

Have you ever struggled with the question of where God is during difficult or tragic times? I know I have and this was especially true for me, both during my career in law enforcement, as well as in the aftermath of the September 11th terror attacks. I set out to explore this question, but it ultimately developed into an investigation to discover the actual existence of God.

When you pick-up your copy you will be supporting two very worthwhile causes. 100% of the royalties are being donated to the Salvation Army and the Fealgood Foundation. Beyond the purchase of the book, please consider donating to these amazing groups that do so much work for others.


Kindle Countdown Deal - PERFECT PAWN (08/22/18)

Just in time for Back-To-School & Labor Day, my debut book PERFECT PAWN is going to be available as a Kindle (e-book) Count Down Deal through Amazon. 

Starting Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018, at 8:00 a.m. (PDT) Perfect Pawn, book #1 in the James Maguire series, will be available for only $.99 

Then, over the next week, the price will slowly rise until it returns back to its normal retail price of $4.99 at midnight, August 29th. 

Don't miss this opportunity to grab the book that started it all.

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