Voices of September 11th Urges Senators to Support Zadroga Bill

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Voices of September 11th calls on members of the United States Senate to come together to vote for the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act which will provide health care and compensation for rescue and recovery workers who have been sickened after working on the pile at the World Trade Center site.

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Our families were reliant on the efforts of the rescue and recovery workers who worked tirelessly at the site searching for our loved ones.

Voices of September 11th co-founder, Mary Fetchet has a very personal reason to support the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act. On September 11, 2001, she lost her 24 year old son, Brad. “I was hopeful that my son would be found at the site. As it became apparent that no one survived, my next hope was that my son’s remains would be recovered. Our family relied on the efforts of the rescue and recovery workers who worked tirelessly at the site searching for our loved ones. Thanks to their efforts, we were notified of our son’s remains in November, 2001 and have been contacted by the Medical Examiners four subsequent times. Thousands of families shared our same experience. Collectively we were indebted to their determination and resolve.”

The Zadroga bill will provide $3.2 billion for health care and $4.2 billion for compensation and other items for those rescuers and construction workers who worked at the World Trade Center site. It would provide long-term health care for those who become ill and re-create a victim compensation fund to make cash payments to sick workers or their survivors.

Over the last four years, the staff at Voices of September 11th has met with survivors and rescue and recovery workers to capture their inspirational stories for the 9/11 Living Memorial Project, a digital archive that will be exhibited at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum when it opens on 9/11/2011. They speak of their firsthand accounts of the attacks, witnessing people jumping to escape the burning buildings and watching helplessly as the building collapsed, wondering if their friends and colleagues were able to escape. In response to the attacks, rescue and recovery workers and volunteers rushed in from around the country to assist in the rescue efforts, hoping to save lives. Many spent months working in the rubble sifting for human remains in conditions that we now know compromised their health and well-being.

Ms. Fetchet says that “in the years since 9/11, it is apparent that these brave individuals that worked at the World Trade Center site have been severely impacted and they need our help.” The professional staff at Voices of September 11th is providing services to the rescue workers and survivors so they see firsthand the gravity of the situation. Many rescuers and survivors have severe psychological problems, suffering from PTSD, anxiety and depression which is complicated by life-threatening medical problems including lung disease and cancer. The medications they are taking to address their illnesses have serious side-affects. Some may be no longer able to work or support their families. As their friends and colleagues die, many anticipate the inevitable.

The Zadroga bill has passed the House, but was derailed in the Senate. In a vote on December 9th, the bill won a large majority, 57-42, but failed because it was short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules. The vote was strictly along party lines; with Republicans saying that they will not support any legislation until the all the Bush- era tax cuts are extended. Ms. Fetchet called on Senators to “put aside party politics at this critical juncture and do the right thing by supporting those who helped our families and our country through our darkest hours.”



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Susan Dahill
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