First responders who died of 9/11-related illnesses eligible for federal Medal of Valor
The law makes firefighters, cops and emergency service officers fatally sickened by the toxic debris pile eligible for the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor
By John Annese
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — First responders who died of Ground Zero-related illnesses are eligible for a federal medal honoring Sept. 11 heroes under a new law signed by President Trump.
The law, introduced last year by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens), makes firefighters, cops and emergency service officers fatally sickened by the toxic debris pile eligible for the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor.
The award was initially created to honor first responders who died during the Sept. 11 attacks.
Trump signed the Medal of Valor bill into law on Saturday, along with another bill that will allow the National EMS Memorial Foundation construct a monument on federal land in the nation’s capital.
“Our fallen heroes will now be honored for their ultimate sacrifice and what better place than our nation's capital,” said Oren Barzilay, head of the union that represents the city’s EMTs and paramedics.
The foundation was started more than a decade ago by EMS unions in New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Delaware, Barzilay said.
“As one of the founding members, I take great pride in seeing this accomplished,” Barzilay said.
Barzilay credited his union’s former president, Patrick Bahnken, EMS officers union president Vincent Variale, and other EMS officials he said were instrumental to getting the bills passed.