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This originally aired on the Catholic Faith Network’s show CFN Live: https://youtu.be/dWNYLoMuvkg
This past Monday we remembered that horrific day in New York City on September 11, 2001. Twenty two years later, the battle continues for first responders and those who lived in the 9/11 area.
What has the government done to help first responders, volunteers, and survivors of the September 11 attacks?
Congress has passed legislation for the victims of 9/11 but it was a struggle.
On January 2, 2011, President Obama signed The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 which provides health monitoring and aid to the first responders, volunteers, and survivors of the September 11 attacks.
It is named after James Zadroga, a New York Police Department officer whose death was linked to exposures from the World Trade Center disaster. The law funds and establishes a health program to provide medical treatment for responders and survivors who experienced or may experience health complications related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Interestingly, The Zadroga Act expired on October 1, 2015. Jon Stewart and a group of first responders went to Congress and were able to obtain reauthorization in December 2015 and its coverage was extended for 75 years.
Then, due to insufficient funds, there was discussion in 2019 that funding for pending and future claims be cut. Again, Jon Stewart and first responders including Luis Alvarez went to Congress and on June 11, 2019, a bill was passed to permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
In July 2019, the President signed the Never Forget the Heroes, James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF Permanent Authorization Act”), extending the deadline for filing a claim until October 1, 2090.
What was the settlement for the victims of 9/11?
For a death claim, $250,000 is awarded for the decedent, $100,000 for the spouse, and $100,000 for each dependent. For physical injury claims, the $250,000 presumptive award can be increased or decreased by the Special Master based on the individual’s circumstances. Typically, $90,000 for non-cancer claims.
There were over 3,000 victims that day.
2,743 of them at the World Trade Center. Among the dead were over 400 first responders from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) as well as the NY/NJ Port Authority Police Department (PAPD). 204 were lost at the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA.
In addition to the 3,000 who died, another 10,000 have suffered a variety of injuries.
What are the 9/11 Related Illnesses Covered under the Zadroga Act?
The Zadroga Act covers illnesses included under the World Trade Center Health Program. Illnesses and injuries that may form the basis for 9/11 claims include:
Can victims still bring claims?
The Zadroga Act has a compensation fund that people could continue to file claims if they had exposure to toxins during 9/11 known as the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund. The deadline to file a claim was extended until October 1, 2090. There is also a registration process and a two year rule.
There are specific 9/11 victims’ compensation fund eligibility criteria and certain conditions that can qualify, but overall, it is a way to actually take care of these people who sacrificed so much on 9/11 and during the aftermath and the cleanup, when they were exposed to carcinogens. No one could have predicted the types of problems and conditions first responders and others around the towers would have after 9/11. The Zadroga Act is here to help those people.
The explosions from the plane crashes and the subsequent collapse of the towers and resulting dust cloud scattered carcinogenic materials all over New York. As a result, the asbestos, fiberglass, glass, concrete, and other debris that filled the air and blanketed the earth near Ground Zero created a massive and growing health crisis.
It is recommended that anyone who was in the 911 Area seek the services of a law firm experienced with 911 claims.
The Man in the Red Bandana
On Sept.11, New Yorkers demonstrated extraordinary courage and risked their lives to save others. One of these heroes was the man in the red bandana, Welles Remy Crowther.
When hijacked Flight 175 hit the World Trade Center’s South Tower, people on the 78th floor sky lobby huddled together, frightened, and confused. There was no escape as far as they could tell. Then, a man with a red bandana covering his nose and mouth suddenly appeared from the wreckage and smoke. He spoke in a calm voice and guided them to a stairway, leading them to safety. The man in the red bandana made three trips to the sky lobby, saving as many people as he could, until the burning building collapsed.
A few months after 9/11, stories from survivors surfaced about the mysterious man wearing the red bandana. When Alison Crowther read an article about the hero in the New York Times, she knew that man was her son, 24-year-old Welles Crowther. He had carried a red handkerchief since he was a boy. Welles Crowther worked as an equities trader and was also a volunteer firefighter.
Welles Crowther’s bravery and heroism on 9/11 will never be forgotten.
I have been privileged to know Welles’ father, Jefferson Crowther and his mother, Alison, and their immeasurable love for their son.
Welles loved wearing his red bandana as a little boy. He always wanted to be a volunteer firefighter. He was a leader in school and to his friends (for example, on the lacrosse field at Boston College).
The Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust was established in September 2001 by the Crowther Family to honor and keep their beloved son’s memory alive through good works benefiting young people. For more information, please visit www.CrowtherTrust.org
The mission of the Welles Remy Crowther Trust recognizes and awards academic and athletic excellence in young men and women who serve their communities through education, health, recreation, and character development. The Trust supports other not-for-profit organizations that benefit young people through annual gifts and special awards.