What to Know
- Five first responders — three FDNY and two NYPD employees — died from 9/11-related illnesses this week
- Since September 2016, 55 first responders have died from 9/11-related illnesses, according to first responders nonprofit founder John Feal
- A massive granite memorial in Long Island lists 800 names of first responders who have died on or since 9/11
Five first responders — three FDNY and two NYPD employees — have died from 9/11 related illnesses within the last week.
Each of these heroes selflessfly rushed to the twin towers in 2001 to help with the rescue and recover effort. Now, years later, that action of bravery cost them their lives.
"Every time someone passes away, a part of me dies because I have the job of researching it and collecting data on these passing," said John Feal, founder of the FealGood Foundation. "I have been to 159 wakes and funerals."
Feal is the founder of the FealGood foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists first responders who have been injured in the line of duty. His group raised money for a massive granite memorial on Long Island. Each etched name represents a first responder who died from a 9/11-related illness.
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"Most poeple remember two buildings coming down and people low to senseless violence. But now, here we are 16 years later and thousand of people here in New York and across the country are sick and dying from their heroic actions."
The memorial lists about 800 names and was last updated in September 2016. Feal says since then, 55 more NYPD and FDNY heroes have died, including the five taken this week. Many have died from cancer.
Among those who succumbed to cancer is veteran firefighter Robert Newman, who spent his entire 39-year career working from a Lower East Side firehouse. Bunting has been draped in his honor.
The memorial on Long Island with the flag that will forever fly at half-staff is Feal's way of saying thank you.
"Thsi was built so history is not distorted," he said. "So that no one can take away from the heroic sacrifices these men and women did for their city and their country."
Of the five that passed away over the last week, most of them have been laid to rest. EMT Rose Scott will be buried next week.