After years of worry that the federal 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund might expire, New Yorkers and people from around the country celebrated the law that authorized its extension through the year 2090. The new law and its updated, strengthened provisions would not have come without the efforts of many dedicated advocates, some of whom are sadly no longer with us.
To recognize 16 key supporters of the bill, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio awarded them the Bronze Medallion — the city’s highest civic honor — in a December ceremony held at the Beacon Theater. Recipients included:
- First responders — Family members accepted awards in behalf of deceased first responders James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, Luis Alvarez and Deborah Reeve, victims of 9/11 illness who battled through their excruciating pain and deteriorating physical condition to help thousands of others facing similar circumstances.
- Victim advocates — Lila Nordstrom, who was in the shadow of the Twin Towers as a Stuyvesant High School senior when the attacks occurred, was recognized for her work as the founder of StuyHealth, which focuses on obtaining healthcare for younger people affected by post-9/11 illnesses. Another medallion went to John Feal, whose Feal Good Foundation assists emergency personnel in this area and around the United States.
- Political activists — Comedian and television host Jon Stewart, one of the most visible proponents of the victim fund’s reauthorization, was among the New Yorkers honored during the tribute.
While the presentation justly praised those whose work will help thousands of victims and their families, it’s important to remember that more remains to be done. Only a fraction of the 400,000 people potentially exposed to toxins emanating from Ground Zero have sought related medical treatment or monitoring. Now that the VCF has been extended, it’s time to make sure those in need take advantage of the program.
Barasch & McGarry has long been a leader in the battle to secure proper compensation for clients through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and other measures. To make an appointment for a free consultation regarding your options if you might have been exposed to toxins near the Ground Zero site, please call 888-351-9421 or contact us online.