NEW YORK (WCBS 880/1010 WINS) – It was a dramatic day long awaited at Ground Zero as police officers, firefighters, first responders and other emergency officials joined with politicians to celebrate the passing of the James Zagroda Bill, also known as the 9/11 health bill.
Officials gathered Thursday afternoon to echo their support for the bill that will provide financial aid to first responders from 9/11 who are suffering my medical illnesses that resulted from breathing in toxic materials.
Sen. Chuck Schumer called the passing a victory lap that saves lives.
“There are people today who feel a whole lot better than they did two days ago, knowing that they will get the medical care they need, knowing that their heroism is being remembered, knowing that America will not turn their back on them,” Schumer said.
It was a culmination of efforts by many officials, and they’re relieved to finally be able to support the responders.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it our patriotic duty to take care of the first responders.
“We’ve come back to this spot where so many showed so much inspiration and valor and dedication to say that our nation at long last has done its duty. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that the people I am standing with have been able to recapture that sense of patriotic unity for the sake of those who sacrificed so much,” Bloomberg said.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney was among many who had been pushing from the beginning.
“It has taken a long time but help is finally here for the thousands of Americans who are suffering because of 9/11,” Maloney said.
Policeman Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said that even though many of those suffering cops have insurance, it doesn’t cover all of their rare illnesses.
“There was a dollar sign on this, but that dollar sign was about getting medicine and hospitalization for members who were dying that weren’t covered or they couldn’t be covered,” Lynch said.