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Thread: A Fallen Hero - Video Inside

  1. #191
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    A NIGHT FOR JOE
    Benefit set for 9/11 rescue worker



    http://www.ocobserver.com/apps/pbcs....=2007702110325

    BY ANGELA SANTORIELLO
    STAFF WRITER
    Posted by the Ocean County Observer on 02/11/07

    TOMS RIVER — It still feels like the Twin Towers are falling for Joe Picurro.

    Picurro, a 9/11 responder who spent 28 days at Ground Zero, has lost 26 pounds in the last three weeks, due to the leukemia he was diagnosed with in August that is directly related to his 28-day volunteer work.

    His doctor told him Friday afternoon it is likely the leukemia has reached stage four. "He is really, really bad," said Joe's wife Laura. "He hasn't been able to get out of bed for almost three weeks."

    Under his doctor's advice, Joe Picurro has not received chemotherapy for his cancer because of the severe vomiting that is caused from the radiation treatment. Doctors said the chemotherapy could cause further cancer in Picurro's throat and a bone marrow transplant would be a safer form of treatment.

    "They agreed to tell me when it was late in the game and now it's late in the game," he said.

    Picurro will be admitted into a hospital in two weeks so doctors can find a bone marrow match. While Picurro is hopeful one of this two twin sisters will be a match, friend John Feal said he would be the back up plan.

    "I offered my bone marrow to him," said Feal. "I would sacrifice myself for any 9/11 responder."

    Aside from offering his own marrow, Feal's nonprofit organization — the FealGood Foundation — was created to assist responders like Picurro. The foundation will be sponsoring an upcoming benefit for Picurro and responder Father Stephen Petrovich along with the Artists4Hope organization.

    The benefit costs $50 a ticket and is free for 9/11 responders. It will be held from 2-7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Captain Hooks in Seaside Heights with The Hitmen performing while guests enjoy food, giveaways, raffle drawing and the auctioning of a Paul Reed Smith guitar that was sent to the recent James Brown Tribute in Los Angeles for performing artists' signatures.

    The cherry wood electric guitar has signatures from band members in 3 Doors Down, the David Sanborn band, the Ted Nugent band, the Dixie Chicks, the Jethro Tull band, Quiet Riot and Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.

    Paul Reed also placed his signature on the guitar he donated for the benefit and paid for it to be transported to Los Angeles and back to the Picurro's home for the benefit.

    The guitar will be posted on eBay Feb. 14 so it can receive the most exposure before the event and the auctioning will end at the benefit with the highest bidder. Feal said he started the foundation to help responders financially and to advocate for them before the U.S. Congress. A 9/11 responder himself for 5 days, Feal lost half of his left foot at Ground Zero when an 8,000 pound beam fell on his foot, causing gangrene to set in, requiring a partial amputation.

    Feal said after he felt sorry for himself for about a year; then, after he realized other responders were worse off, he decided to create the FealGood Foundation. "People are suffering and dying and there is nothing I can do to save Joe Picurro and Father Stephen, but I can help ease the pain," he said.

    Feal believes the recent $25 million pledge by President Bush to help rescue workers who have been sickened from the site is "political bread crumbs."

    "They shouldn't have to suffer because the federal government remains idle," he said, adding, "And the lack of compassion that has trickled down from our leaders has become a snowball in society where 9/11 responders are being forgotten."

    Petrovich came to New York from Cleveland to bless the Ground Zero soil, and to help where he could. He said yesterday from his home in Ohio he was blessed himself to meet Joe and Laura Picurro.

    The 17 days Petrovich spent keeping the faith among responders, he developed a chronic lung disease and had to have a precancerous part of tongue removed.

    "They (government officials) knew who were there because of our identification and never contacted to us tell us something could have been wrong with us," he said, adding Laura Picurro was the one who "knew New York proper" and gave him the numbers he needed to be treated for the illness he contacted from Ground Zero. "It was our duty to go."

    While Laura is fighting to keep her husband alive, she is still helping provide the needed assistance for Petrovich, arranging a free round trip flight donated by the Salvation Army of Union and seeing that the Hershey Motel in Seaside Heights would donate a room for his stay along with three other rooms for first responders who will coming to the benefit.

    "He is coming up for the benefit but the main thing is to get him to Mount Sinai on the Monday after the benefit," Laura said, adding she will be taking him to New York.

    Though the Joe Picurro has been denied funds and treatment promised him by the New York Worker's Compensation Board and the federal government, leaving the family with $63,000 in unpaid medical bills, Laura Picurro said the benefit is not about money that will be raised but more importantly it is "to raise awareness about what we are going through." t

    She said a hundred percent of the benefit proceeds will be split between her husband Joe and Petrovich.

    "New York (Workers Compensation Board) made it clear they will not cover any type of cancer treatment," she said, adding she can longer be anxious over insurance coverage because she is to concerned with her husband's health.

    To purchase a ticket to the benefit or make a donation to Picurro or Petrovich, visit www.fealgoodfoundation.com.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #192
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    'NYT' Disputes Media -- And Politicians' -- Accounts of 9/11 'Hero'

    http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/..._id=1003544946

    By E&P Staff
    Published: February 12, 2007 11:00 PM ET

    NEW YORK In a major Tuesday article, The New York Times casts doubts on recent accounts -- by everyone from rival New York Daily News to President Bush and Sen. Hillary Clinton -- of an alleged hero of 9/11, a New York City police officer named Cesar A. Borja.

    It's not disputed that he indeed died of lung disease and spent time at Ground Zero in New York. He has been "held up as a symbol of the medical crisis affecting the thousands of emergency personnel and construction workers who labored on the smoking remains of the fallen World Trade Center after the 9/11 attack," as the Times puts it. This even brought his son an invitation to sit in the gallery, and earn an ovation, at this year's State of the Union address.

    But the Times' Sewell Chan and Al Baker now write on Tuesday, "It turns out, though, that very few of the most dramatic aspects of Officer Borja’s powerful story appear to be fully accurate. Government records and detailed interviews with Officer Borja’s family indicate that he did not rush to the disaster site, and that he did not work a formal shift there until late December 2001, after substantial parts of the site had been cleared and the fire in the remaining pile had been declared out.

    "Officer Borja worked traffic and security posts on the streets around the site, according to his own memo book, and there is no record of his working 16 hours in a shift. He worked a total of 17 days, according to his records, and did not work as a volunteer there. He signed up for the traffic duty, his wife said, at least in part as a way to increase his overtime earnings as he prepared to retire.

    “'It’s not true,' Eva R. Borja, the officer’s wife, said of the Daily News account of his rushing there shortly after the collapse of the trade center. In two extensive interviews, Mrs. Borja displayed her husband’s memo book, where he kept detailed notes about his work across his career. The first entry for working at ground zero is Dec. 24, 2001. Almost all the rest come in February, March and April 2002, five or more months after the attacks.

    "Mrs. Borja said she still believed her husband was sickened in his work around the site. Shown his father’s memo book, Ceasar Borja, who had become something of a spokesman for ailing 9/11 workers, said it was the first time he understood what his father had actually done....

    "It is hard to determine precisely how the apparent misinformation about Mr. Borja’s work at ground zero came to be reflected in newspapers, as well as in television and radio broadcasts. The family says it was not the source of the claims about working on the smoking pile. A spokeswoman for The Daily News insisted the paper had never explicitly said Officer Borja had rushed there soon after Sept. 11, only that at some point he had rushed there. Despite a number of articles and editorials that referred to him working amid the rubble and within a cloud of glass and concrete, she said the paper never actually reported his arriving there before December....

    "Other newspaper accounts repeated the account of Officer Borja’s work on the rubble without attributing it to anyone.

    "Mrs. Borja and her son said that The New York Times was the first newspaper to ask them for documents showing Officer Borja’s actual duties at ground zero."

    The Times story continued, explaining that Borja's son had emailed newspapers and The Daily News responded. Throughout January, The News and other papers published numerous articles on Officer Borja’s case. The News "comped" the son's trip to Washington for the State of the Union speech.

    The New York Times itself published an article on Officer Borja, after he died at 52 on the evening of the State of the Union address. The article said he had died after becoming sick after working at ground zero.

    The Tuesday article concludes: "Finally, Ceasar Borja, after having absorbed the implications of his father’s records, said he was no less proud. 'I’m actually happy to know he wasn’t on the pile,' he said, adding that those who were must be in even graver shape. He concluded: 'I don’t believe my father to be any less heroic than I previously thought, any less valiant than the other papers previously misreported on.'”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  3. #193
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    Doubts Raised About 9/11 Cop Borja's Story
    Son Met With Bush, Who Promised Help For Ground Zero Workers

    http://wcbstv.com/watercooler/local_...044062044.html

    Magee Hickey
    2/13/2007

    (CBS) NEW YORK Doubts are being raised about the story of Cesar Borja, the former New York City police officer who died of lung disease that was attributed to his work at Ground Zero. But how much he actually worked at Ground Zero is now in question.

    In death, Cesar Borja became the poster child for ailing 9/11 recovery workers. The police officer died while awaiting a lung transplant. He had rushed to Ground Zero, according to the Daily News, after the World Trade Center towers fell.

    He reportedly breathed in the toxic dust and did not wear protective gear because the federal government declared that the air was safe.

    Sen. Hillary Clinton and President Bush both embraced his son, Ceasar Borja Jr.

    (PHOTO: President Bush met with the Borja family in early February.)

    CBS 2 was there when Ceasar Borja Jr. got the call from Rep. Vito Fossella, asking him to meet with Bush on during the president's trip to the city.

    "I just want to say to the president, 'You have the honor and the power to help, and you can stop this. You can prevent this, and you can do this right now,'" Borja Jr. said.

    "This to me is not just a photo op -- this is a meeting a crucial meeting. I am not a poster boy. I am a voice, and I am fighting for this," said Borja Jr.

    After meeting the 21 year old, Bush promised more money for first responders -- those first on the scene in the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks.

    But now, according to a Page One story in The New York Times, many of the facts in the Borja story are not quite accurate.

    The police officer, 46-years-old at the time, apparently did not rush to work on "the pile."

    According to government records and interviews with family members, Borja did not arrive at Ground Zero until December 24, 2001 -- four months after the attacks. He worked traffic and security on the streets around the site, according to his own memo book, for a total of 17 days.

    There were no 16-hour shifts, and according to his widow, he worked traffic duty as a way to increase his overtime earnings as he prepared to retire.

    Mrs. Borja said that she still believes her husband was sickened by his work around the site, and Ceasar Borja Jr. said he never called his dying father a "first responder" until newspaper stories did.

    A city autopsy on Cesar Borja is still underway. Doctors say there might still be a connection between his death and his work at Ground Zero.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  4. #194
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    FDNY HAS $$ CURE FOR WTC WOES

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/02132007..._campanile.htm

    By CARL CAMPANILE

    February 13, 2007 -- Thousands of sick World Trade Center rescue workers - including firefighters and paramedics - will get free prescription drugs to help treat their medical conditions, the FDNY said yesterday.

    Fire brass said they're using millions of dollars in federal funds to help subsidize the purchase of medications and waive the typical co-payment required as part of city/labor health plans.

    WTC responders have complained they've had to front the costs for expensive medications and pay hundreds of dollars in co-payments.

    Union officials say they've had to deplete health-benefits funds to help cover the extraordinary 9/11-related drug costs.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  5. #195
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    NY Mayor Seeks More Federal Money for 9/11 Victims

    http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-02-13-voa70.cfm

    By Barbara Schoetzau
    New York
    13 February 2007

    In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined the chorus of state officials calling on the federal government to provide the city with more funding for sustained treatment of 9/11-related illnesses. From VOA's New York Bureau, correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports.

    Bloomberg made public the findings of a panel assigned to review the health impact of the 9/11 attacks on the city and to determine what needs to be done to help those affected over the long term.

    The panel found a significant lack of funding for 9/11 health programs, including absolutely no federal support for the treatment of residents and other non-first responders.

    The report concludes that the health impact of the attacks on the World Trade Center September 11, 2001, is costing New York's health care system $393 million each year. The panel recommends the federal government contribute $150 million a year for essential health programs.

    Bloomberg says he welcomes President Bush's recent pledge of an additional $25 million to the city. But he says it is not enough. At the very least, the mayor says, the federal government must cover the costs that are essential.

    "President Bush's preliminary budget does not address these ongoing needs so I will work closely with our congressional delegation to make sure this critical funding is secured. I believe that our first responders were responding to an act of war against this nation and the federal has a clear responsibility to them that it must meet," he said.

    Bloomberg says he is accepting all the reports recommendations, including the establishment of a new Victims Compensation Fund.

    The Mayor is scheduled to testify on the health funding issue next month before a Senate committee.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  6. #196
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    HEROES WORRY OVER BAD NEWS

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/02142007...ionalnews_.htm

    By CARL CAMPANILE and DAN KADISON

    February 14, 2007 -- Advocates for ailing World Trade Center responders worried yesterday that the inaccurate account of Police Officer Cesar Borja's work at Ground Zero could hurt the real heroes who showed up on 9/11 and toiled there for months.

    The concern stems from a series of Daily News articles that claimed Borja had "rushed" to Ground Zero and worked "in the rubble, breathing in clouds of toxic dust."

    However, The New York Times, in a lengthy and detailed investigative report yesterday, revealed that Borja, who died last month of lung-related disease, didn't arrive at Ground Zero until 31/2 months after the attacks, when the fire had been extinguished - mostly to direct traffic several blocks from the smoldering pile.

    The Times said Borja worked there for only 17 days.

    David Worby, a lawyer representing thousands of WTC responders in a federal negligence suit against the city, said numerous ailing clients called him yesterday in response to the Times report fretting that people won't believe that their illnesses were caused by breathing toxic dust at Ground Zero.

    "My clients were disappointed that their credibility could be an issue," Worby said.

    "I'm very disappointed with the Daily News," he added. "If you make a poster boy out of someone, you better know what the poster is about."

    Detective Mike Valentin, 42, a responder who was at Ground Zero the day the towers fell and worked there for months, said he was disturbed by the disclosure that Borja had spent little time at Ground Zero.

    "I think people were looking for a poster child and they picked the wrong one," said Valentin, who worries that Congress now may be wary of providing new health funding for first responders.

    Publisher Mort Zuckerman's Daily News reported last month that Borja was hospitalized with pulmonary fibrosis, awaiting a lung transplant - linking his life-threatening illness to working "16-hour shifts in the rubble, breathing in clouds of toxic dust."

    "He rushed to Ground Zero and started working long days there - even volunteering to work extra shifts," the News wrote in a Jan. 16 account.

    Borja's son, Ceasar Jr., bolstered the account in subsequent statements to the media - drawing the sympathy of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Bush.

    Clinton invited Borja Jr. to the president's State of the Union Address - and his father died hours before the speech. Bush met him the following week.

    According to the Times, Borja Sr. didn't work an assignment at Ground Zero until Dec. 24, 2001.

    Eva Borja, asked by the Times about the Daily News' claims that her husband "rushed" to Ground Zero, admitted: "It's not true."

    A Daily News spokeswoman declined comment.

    The Times stood by its story, saying it "sought to provide the most accurate depiction of Officer Borja's service near the disaster site at Ground Zero."

    Meanwhile, the Borjas yesterday said they didn't intend to lie about Cesar's service, and were eaten alive in a media maelstrom.

    "I didn't have time to be correcting everybody. I thought it didn't matter to me. What mattered to me is he got sick and he passed away," Eva Borja said.

    The family also insisted that eyewitnesses told them Cesar did work on the pile at some point.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  7. #197
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    9/11 First Responders: 'We're Dead Men Walking'
    Years After Attacks, Many Face Reality Death May Be Near

    http://wcbstv.com/seenon/local_story_047002528.html

    Dana Tyler
    2/16/2007

    (CBS) NEW YORK More than five years after the 9/11 terror attacks, the full impact of that day is still unknown. First responders who rushed into the collapsing buildings are dealing with health issues they believe could be just the tip of the iceberg.

    CBS 2 spoke to many who now say they are dead men walking.

    First responders charged toward ground zero on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, united in their mission.

    "I saw the second plane hit, both towers come down," Vito Valente said. "It went from day to night."

    "When things are at their very worst is when we are at our very best," Mike McCormack added. "It subsequently changed my life forever."

    Today, seven out of every 10 suffer from respiratory disease.

    And that's just the beginning.

    "My wife to this day is still pulling pieces of glass out of my back," John Feal said. "I have nose bleeds on a regular basis, ringing of the ears, can't sleep."

    CBS 2 spoke to just six of the 33,000 people who are now being treated after working at ground zero. As time goes by, new health problems emerge, some unexplained.

    "I have a rash that's in the back of my leg now," Valente said.

    "The fear is that most of us are going to get some kind of cancer in our esophagus," Feal said.

    They also suffer from massive migraines, unexplained rashes and aches and pains that defy explanation.

    Dr. Jacqueline Moline of Mount Sinai's Monitoring and Treatment Program said she's often powerless.

    "We're hearing the same complaints over and over and over again," Moline said.

    Mount Sinai monitors nearly 20,000 first responders on a continual basis.

    "There is no doubt in the minds of any of us who've seen the thousands of responders that their health had been adversely affected by these exposures," Moline said.

    For many, the picture is grim.

    "We will unfortunately outnumber those people who died on 9/11," one of the responders said. "Vito Valente is going to die. Mike McCormack is going to die."

    Valente needs a double-lung transplant. McCormack has a piece of metal embedded in his lung after volunteering for eight days at ground zero.

    McCormack found the flag that flew atop the Twin Towers.

    "It was 1,100 degrees, dark and dusty," McCormack said.

    Feal's foot was crushed from falling metal.

    "I ended up getting wedged in and buried beneath the ground," Feal said.

    Vinny Forras was honored by President Bush. He escaped after being trapped.

    Acts of heroism that came at a high price, physically and emotionally.

    "It's like walking through a door which you can never return from," one of the responders said.

    All of the men said they've had to show proof they worked at ground zero. All of them now also suffer from sleep problems.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    9/11 heroes: Gary White

    http://www.silive.com/news/advance/i...780.xml&coll=1

    By HEIDI J. SHRAGER
    ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
    2/18/2007

    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Gary White's idea of good fortune is not even close to what it was before Sept. 11, 2001, when he rushed to Ground Zero, returning nearly every day for six months.

    "Today is a good day, because I found out I don't have skin cancer," he told an Advance reporter one morning last month.

    For a 52-year-old weight-lifter who once commanded the NYPD detective squad in Chinatown and has an obsession with Superman, the news was a ray of light in a life darkened by extreme physical and financial vulnerability.

    These days, White is living with permanent brain damage and walks with a cane. Notes are scattered around his Bay Terrace studio apartment so he'll remember his daily rituals of medications, doctors' visits, and what little else he can accomplish outside of meeting his own health needs, like helping his 18-year-old daughter plan for college.

    He can concentrate only in short spurts, and a conversation is riddled with frequent pauses as he struggles to regain his train of thought. Even talking to his 15-year-old son about how his day was makes his head pound. White calls it "Rainman head."

    "This is not me," said White during an interview in his apartment, which he is leaving this month because he can't afford the rent. "This is not my world. Now I know what every Vietnam veteran feels like, because I'm a veteran, too. I'm a veteran of 9/11."

    White's demise began with a rash. Next came the constant cough, and then, with a vengeance, the post-nasal drip. By 2004, the drip was preventing him from sleeping, and White became exhausted.

    Rather than treat the breathing problem, his private doctors prescribed him sleep medication, which only made it worse. Exhaustion mixed with depression led to anxiety attacks.

    In 2005 White hit his 23rd year with the NYPD and retired. He couldn't prove his health problems were related to 9/11, and therefore couldn't get a line-of-duty disability pension, which carries income and benefits far greater than the regular pension he now gets.

    Last March, a visit to the Staten Island University Hospital sleep clinic revealed White stopped breathing between 35 and 40 times each hour. "Sometimes I wake up and I'm gasping for air," he said. "I freaked my son out once that way."

    An ear, nose and throat doctor warned him that if he didn't surgically clear his airways, he would soon have a heart attack or stroke.

    The stroke hit in September, while White was in the shower, leaving him permanently brain damaged. Maintaining the job he had as a security consultant -- which was financing his medical bills -- was out of the question.

    Now he's in the process of trying to collect Social Security while fighting to have his disability pension changed to line-of-duty. He has letters from his neurologist, general physician and pulmonologist saying his health problems are related to the 9/11 work he did.

    Meanwhile, White is scheduled for surgery in April to open his nasal passages. He hopes his health insurance will pay for most of it, but he said he doesn't know how he will cover the balance.

    9/11 heroes: Edward Wallace

    http://www.silive.com/news/advance/i...780.xml&coll=1

    By HEIDI J. SHRAGER
    ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
    2/18/2007

    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- To step foot in Edward Wallace's basement is to understand something fundamental about the retired detective: He would do most anything for his city.

    Wood paneling is wallpapered with plaques, merit citations, awards, promotion certificates and diplomas, all earned during his 20 years with the New York Police Department.

    Hanging in the center of the accolades is a homemade, postcard-perfect photograph of the city's nighttime skyline, the World Trade Center peeking out from behind the Empire State Building radiating red, white and blue.

    But since Sept. 11, 2001, Wallace's devotion has all but washed away under the corrosive one-two punch of physical pain and medical bills. Now the 43-year-old Eltingville resident, who rushed to aid in the recovery at Ground Zero just after his brother, who died of brain cancer, was buried on Sept. 15, says his mayor and the NYPD have walked away from him.

    Wallace spent five months shuttling between Ground Zero, Fresh Kills and the morgue as a member of the Crime Scene Unit. Now, he can no longer open jars because his joints constantly ache. Patches of burning red bumps flare up across his body, tumors swell beneath his skin and acid swims in his mouth.

    And of course, there's the cough. The ever-present dry hack was his first symptom, kicking in a year after the attacks. Major surgery soon followed, so doctors at Staten Island University Hospital could cut out three sections of his lung.

    The biopsies revealed he had sarcoidosis, a disease in which clusters of cells swell and attack organs like the eyes, liver, kidney, skin and, most commonly, the lungs, according to the American Lung Association. One benign tumor on Wallace's hip had grown to the size of a tennis ball when the doctor excised it.

    "You look at my medicine chest and see all these medicines there, and you would think I was a senior citizen," said Wallace in his basement one recent night, as his wife Margaret, also a retired first-grade detective, sat nearby with their two sons, Ian, 15, and Brandon, 10.

    The medications and doctors visits cost Wallace hundreds of dollars a month in co-pays, which he manages to finance through working as a forensic consultant and teaching classes in counter-terrorism tactics.

    Still, anxiety runs high that any day his insurance provider will cut him off, realizing it is wrongly paying to treat illnesses contracted on the job, and therefore the legal responsibility of the police pension system.

    When Wallace retired on his 20th year on the job in 2004, the police department rejected his claim that sarcoidosis was a line-of-duty injury. But in addition to sarcoidosis, Wallace has been diagnosed with dermatitis and eosinophilic esophagitis, a disease marked by inflamed white blood cells that attack the esophagus and eat away its lining.

    All three of Wallace's diseases appear on the Pataki presumptive bill list.

    9/11 heroes: Robert Wallen

    http://www.silive.com/news/advance/i...780.xml&coll=1

    By SALLY GOLDENBERG
    ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
    2/17/2007

    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Sept. 11, 2001, transformed Lt. Robert Wallen from a healthy New York firefighter to bone marrow recipient DRB11101.

    Lt. Wallen, formerly a firefighter with Engine 151 in Tottenville, was working his side job at a South Shore polling station for the primary that day when he heard the frantic calls for help over a police radio.

    Within two hours, he was at Ground Zero digging through rubble. He worked until midnight the first day, and returned every day for the next week.

    During his labor, he wore only a paper mask to shield him from the heavy cloud of toxic dust and debris.

    "One fireman, the end of that Tuesday, he says, 'We're all walking dead men.' I said, 'You really think so?' And we never spoke of it again. He understood what was in those buildings," Lt. Wallen recalled.

    A few months later, Lt. Wallen went for a checkup with the FDNY's World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program. One platelet count was slightly off. He was told not to worry.

    A year later, he began to feel an overwhelming fatigue. By September of 2003, a bone marrow aspirate helped doctors diagnose him with myelodysplastic syndrome, sometimes classified as an early form of cancer characterized by an ineffective production of blood cells.

    In a letter from the Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, a doctor linked his ailment to his work at Ground Zero, specifically his exposure to benzene.

    Without a bone marrow transplant, Lt. Wallen was told he would die within three years.

    "It was awful, absolutely awful. I remember the car ride home. He told me he was going to die in three years. I said to him, 'We have a 3-year-old,'" recalled his wife, Terry Wallen. The couple has three young children -- one of whom has Down syndrome.

    In August of 2005, doctors found a match to save Lt. Wallen's life. The Wallens only know him as a 24-year-old man from Europe.

    Today, the 42-year-old lieutenant is clear of the disease, but has retired from the FDNY because of his severe fatigue. He takes 26 pills a day.

    He estimated he has spent $50,000 of his own money for treatments and drugs, though he was registered with the FDNY's World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program. He borrowed cash from his 92-year-old grandmother.

    At one point, a bill collector showed up at his front door to demand money for a hospital stay that his insurance did not cover.

    Lt. Wallen describes himself as a 42-year-old man living the life of a senior citizen.

    "That's my main problem -- fatigue. I can't do what I used to do and really, it's tough. It's tough getting up in the morning and going through the day," he said.

    He wistfully spoke about his grandfather, who chopped wood until he was in his 90s. "I looked at him and I said I wish I could be like him when I'm 90."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    BILL TO LET POST-9/11 WORKERS SUE CITY

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/02182007...an_edelman.htm

    By SUSAN EDELMAN
    PrintEmailDigg ItStory Bottom

    February 18, 2007 -- Mayor Bloomberg wants to bar sick Ground Zero workers from suing the city - but Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney say they will push bills to allow people the choice to either sue or take money from a new victims' compensation fund.

    Bloomberg has cooked up a plan to withhold any of the $1 billion in insurance it received from the feds unless the city and its contractors in the Ground Zero cleanup get blanket immunity from lawsuits, officials told The Post.

    "We don't believe the city is liable for the acts of 19 terrorists," said Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler.

    Without immunity, he said, the city could be socked with suits seeking far more than $1 billion for years to come.

    But the city's demand has angered lawyers who want to start settling suits by more than 7,000 workers seeking compensation for respiratory illness, cancer and other diseases from toxic exposure.

    "Bloomberg is holding these ill workers hostage - like human shields," said attorney Paul Napoli.

    Nadler (D-Manhattan) and Maloney (D-Brooklyn) said they will sponsor legislation to reopen the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund - as Bloomberg urged last week.

    But they said it should mirror the original fund, which gave victims the choice to either accept money or go to court. In that case, the plan protected airlines from huge losses.

    "The first victims' fund was voluntary and it worked well," Maloney said.

    susan.edelman@nypost.com
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Bloomberg is a cocksucker.
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