House Passes Chairman Crowley’s Legislation to Honor 9/11 Responders Who Lost Their Lives to Related Illnesses

September 26, 2018
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the House of Representatives passed legislation authored by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) to recognize the heroism of public safety officers who responded to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and subsequently died of 9/11-related health conditions. In 2004, Crowley, with the support of New York’s congressional delegation, ushered passage of legislation to create the 9/11 Heroes Presidential Medal of Valor award for the brave men and women who died in the line of duty on September 11th.  The legislation passed today would extend the honor to the public safety officers who responded on that day and later died as a result of 9/11-related illnesses.

“In the hours, weeks, and years after September 11th, thousands of brave men and women worked tirelessly at Ground Zero and elsewhere to search for survivors and clean up the wreckage. They dug through rubble, clawed through cement and metal, and breathed in dust loaded with chemicals and toxins. They were told that the air was safe, but it wasn’t. And now, many of our public safety officers are gravely ill, and thousands have died,” said Crowley. “These brave public safety officers answered the call in our city’s – and our country’s – darkest hour. They, too, are heroes and deserve this recognition of their service.”

The 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor Act of 2017 was co-sponsored by the entire New York City delegation, including Reps. Yvette Clarke, Dan Donovan, Eliot Engel, Adriano Espaillat, Hakeem Jeffries, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Jerry Nadler, José Serrano, Tom Suozzi, and Nydia Velázquez.

“This is certainly a fitting tribute for NYC Fire Officers and Firefighters as well as all of the other brave first responders. The selfless acts of these brave men and women on that fateful day when America was attacked on our home soil should ‘Never Be Forgotten.’ With the passing of the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor Act of 2017 their acts of bravery will be memorialized as part of our history. I want to thank Congressman Joe Crowley, the NY Delegation, along with all the other elected officials who passed this bill which will recognize their heroic acts forever,” said Jake Lemonda, President of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch said, “True heroism is not found in isolated acts of courage — it is an enduring quality that does not fade with the passage of time. The police officers and other first responders who ran towards danger on September 11, 2001 were heroes that day. They remain heroes now, especially as they struggle in ever-increasing numbers with the illnesses and injuries caused by their service. All who have made or will make the ultimate sacrifice deserve to be honored and recognized like the heroes they are. We applaud Rep. Crowley and the entire NYC Congressional delegation for standing up for our heroes and ensuring passage of this important legislation.”

“To be able to say you were awarded the 9/11 Medal of Valor 17 years later is validation of your heroic actions for our city and nation,” said John Feal, Founder of the FealGood Foundation. “I wish my best friend, FDNY firefighter Ray Pfeifer, was here to witness this honor.”

“On September 11, 2001 fire fighters rushed in to the scene of the horrendous attacks on our nation. They knew the danger they were facing, but went anyways. 343 fire fighters died that day. And in the time since, they continue to be taken from us due to the deadly health conditions stemming from their dedicated service to a grateful nation. I thank Representative Joe Crowley for leading the effort to expand eligibility for the Presidential 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor to those who died as a direct result of their brave and dedicated service following those horrific attacks. The 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor Act truly honors the brave sacrifices made by so many,” said International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold A. Schaitberger.

“The courageous acts of valor by the September 11, 2001, rescue and recovery first responders who have since succumbed after working in the toxic ruins of the World Trade Center and the Fresh Kills Landfill should never be forgotten. The Port Authority Police Benevolent Association strongly supports the Congressional effort to posthumously recognize and honor those heroes with the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor. It was recently reported that soon the number of post 9/11 deaths will surpass the number of those who died in the attacks. Those passings must forever be memorialized. On behalf of our fallen and their families, I extend a grateful gratitude for this important legislation,” said Paul Nunziato, President, Port Authority Police Benevolent Association.

“The SBA is extremely grateful to Representative Crowley for his leadership on this important legislation and working with us to expedite its consideration in the House,” said Sergeants Benevolent Association of the NYPD President Ed Mullins. “As we in New York know all too well, the toll of the 9/11 attacks in terms of lives lost, families broken, and communities changed did not end on September 11, 2001. It is therefore entirely fitting for the House to advance H.R. 3834 this month, when we honor all of those first responders who have and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice in carrying out their sworn duty to protect and serve our fellow citizens.”

“We are very pleased to see Congressman Crowley’s legislation move forward. This bill brings a sense of peace and honor to the legacy of hundreds of firefighters who have perished and who will continue to die due to 9/11, along with families who continue to suffer in their absence,” said Uniformed Firefighters Association PresidentGerard Fitzgerald. “To date the attack on 9/11 has taken the lives of 525 brave firefighters in New York City. 343 FDNY lives were lost that day, and 182 more lives have been lost due to the lasting health effects encountered from rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center. Thank you to Congressman Crowley for continuing to recognize their heroism and bravery.”

Crowley was instrumental in passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to provide first responders and workers with health monitoring and care. He is the only member of Congress to lose a relative on September 11th, his cousin, FDNY Battalion Chief John Moran.