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Tribute to 9/11 Rescue and Recovery Workers Takes Shape

April 30, 2019 | Michael Barasch

With each passing year, we learn more about the terrible health toll suffered by the men and women who worked at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. These World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers will be honored with a fitting monument at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. The memorial, comprised of six granite monoliths laced with steel salvaged from the Twin Towers, should help remind the public that 9/11-related illnesses are still being diagnosed among these workers and that funds are needed to assist them.

Created by Vermont’s Rock of Ages granite manufacturing company and built with approximately $5 million of public and private funds, this tribute will permanently recognize rescue and recovery workers on the Memorial Plaza. It is slated to be dedicated on May 30th.

The memorial complements practical efforts being made to help these dedicated individuals, many of whom are victims of cancer and respiratory illnesses. These include:

  • Availability of benefits — Because dust at the World Trade Center site included toxic particles, cleanup workers who served between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 can receive compensation for a related cancer diagnosis or respiratory illness.
  • Possible permanent authorization — Though new instances of 9/11-related illnesses continue to emerge, federal benefits under the Victim Compensation Fund are currently scheduled to expire on December 18, 2020. This means that without further action, WTC responders whose condition is diagnosed after that date will not have access to any of these funds. A bill has been drafted to authorize the VCF permanently, but the government shutdown and other factors have delayed its passage.

From the initial days after the 9/11 attacks, when health risks associated with the site were downplayed, through today, rescue and recovery workers have faced an uphill battle to obtain the compensation they deserve for illnesses they have contracted.

The attorneys of Barasch & McGarry have never lost sight of the sacrifice made by rescue and recovery workers. We’re proud to fight on their behalf in legal proceedings and in the public square to secure reimbursement for their harm. If you or a loved one was part of the effort to dig out and clean up after the World Trade Center attack, you can schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney by calling [ln::phone] or contacting us online.

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