The Journal News - February 14, 2018by LoHud.com
The losses seem to never let up. This month, some 17½ years after the terrorist attacks leveled the World Trade Center, we lost several first responders to diseases embedded into their bodies from ground zero's toxic swirl.
On Feb. 2, Rocklander and FDNY Lt. (Ret.) Edward Meehan died, just months shy of 60. He had just retired in October. His funeral was held Feb. 8 at St. Anthony's in Nanuet.
Also lost this month, according to the FealGood Foundation: FDNY Firefighter Ronald Svec of New Jersey, who died the same day as Meehan; NYPD Detective Eugene Madden of Long Island and and Retired NYPD Detective Michael Lawrence Ledek of South Carolina; and construction worker Joseph Parise of Staten Island, who assisted in the recovery effort.
Concerns about future impacts keep growing. Recently, alumni of Stuyvesant High School in Battery Park City have come forward to detail health problems from asthma to lymphoma. They are encouraging others who lived, worked or attended school in the area whose health was affected by ground zero exposures to register for the World Trade Center Health Program and possible compensation under the Zadroga Act.
For first responders, the link has been well-established and the losses, even so many years later, deep.
Lt. Meehan worked at Ladder 22, West 100th St., on the Upper West Side. It was far from the scene but firefighters headed toward disaster. Ladder 22 saw no losses that September day. But the luck wouldn’t last.
The work that firefighters like Lt. Meehan performed in the rescue and recovery effort at the twin towers site, amid carcinogenic chemicals, continues to demand a cost. Illnesses related to 9/11 have now claimed almost half as many FDNY members as the fallen buildings did that fateful day.
We will always remember, and honor, the first responders like Lt. Meehan who rushed toward danger that day, and remained to help a nation recover in the days, weeks and months after.