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Staten Island Honors Veteran and 9/11 First Responder

May 25, 2021 | Michael Barasch

Hundreds of community members gathered recently on Deserre Avenue in Staten Island for its renaming as Leif Eikeseth Way, in honor of an Army veteran, transit worker, and 9/11 first responder who passed away of cancer after his exposure to Ground Zero toxins.

Leif Eikeseth, a 36-year veteran of the New York City Transit, was 62 years old.

He lived a lifetime of service, wearing the green beret as a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces from 1974 to 1980. He held the rank of Sergeant.

As a transit worker, Eikeseth flourished, becoming Maintenance Chairman of Transit Authority Surface, which operates and maintains a fleet of buses at seven depots and three shops across New York City.

After 9/11, Eikeseth volunteered to work on the pile at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, where he was exposed to toxins and was ultimately diagnosed with cancer.

Present at the ceremony were Eikeseth’s widow, Mary, and their three daughters Krystina Eysel, Eryka Donahue, and Dayna Parker and their families.

Local elected officials – Assemblyman Michael Reilly and City Council members Joe Borelli and Steve Matteo – also attended to honor Eikeseth and the 9/11 first responder community.

“If you had told me 20 years ago that we would be memorializing people in 2021 impacted and made sick by the tragic events of September 11, I would not have believed you,” Borelli said. “But we are here because we remember.”

If you were in Lower Manhattan on or after 9/11, you may be eligible to register with the  World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

Many types of cancer and respiratory illnesses develop years or decades after an individual’s exposure to toxins. 

Give yourself and your family the peace of mind to know that health care, compensation, and other resources will be available if, God forbid, you get sick in the future.

Call us at 212-385-8000 if you have any questions about the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, or visit 

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