Press Release

Police Badges of 29 NYPD Officers Who Died From 9/11-Related Diseases Come To Nation’s Capital As Senate Prepares To Consider 9/11 Health Bill – Gillibrand, Commissioner Kelly Unveil Week Long Exhibition
Leading Up to Historic Senate Vote, Gillibrand Brings 29 Police Shields of Fallen Heroes To Washington To Lie In Repose For One Week In Russell Rotunda

November 29, 2010

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer, together with U.S. Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Peter King, Anthony Weiner, and New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly today stood with labor leaders and 9/11 survivors, family members and advocates to unveil a special exhibition of police badges belonging to members of the New York City Police Department who assisted in rescue efforts at Ground Zero and later died from 9/11-related illnesses.

The first exhibition of its kind, the 29 badges are intended to attract Republican support for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which will likely be brought up for debate in the Senate this month. In partnership with the NYPD, Senator Gillibrand brought the shields to Washington, DC to highlight the human toll of 9/11-related illnesses and the importance of passing the legislation during the lame duck session.

“These badges are much more than a symbol of the men and women we’ve lost. These shields should serve as a call to action – a call for us to do what’s right and pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act now,” Senator Gillibrand said. “The men and women who lived through 9/11 and came to our rescue on that day were not Democrats or Republicans or Independents – they were Americans. Now we have a duty to provide them the health care and compensation they and their family need. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act fulfills our moral obligation to the brave men and women who did not think twice before risking their lives in service to our country. They were bound by duty and a love of our nation and a love of their fellow Americans. They joined hand in hand with heroes like them from every corner of America to come to our rescue and help us turn toward a path to recovery.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduces the cause for the press conference.

The New York lawmakers were joined by leaders from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association, Lieutenants Benevolent Association, Captains Endowment Fund, Detectives Endowment Association, the New York City Police Museum, and representatives of Community Board 1.

The badges, which come from the New York City Police Museum, will be housed in the Russell Senate Office Building next to the U.S. Capitol. This is the first time that such an exhibition has traveled outside of New York City. In addition to the shields, selected work from New York City courtroom artist Aggie Kenny, will also be on display. Kenny’s moving sketches depict the first responders who worked, lived, ate, and slept at the burning ruin of the former WTC site.

The 29 badges belonged to the following members of the NYPD:

Detective Sandra Adrian New York, NY
Police Officer Thomas G. Brophy Smithtown, NY
Police Officer Madeline Carlo Bronx, NY
Police Officer Daniel C. Conroy Smithtown, NY
Police Officer Renee Dunbar Hempstead, NY
Captain Edward C. Gilpin Manalapan, NJ
Police Officer James J. Godbee New York, NY
Sergeant Claire T. Hanrahan Whitestone, NY
Detective Kevin A. Hawkins Staten Island, NY
Police Officer Robert B. Helmke Hauppauge, NY
Detective William J. Holfester Mastic Beach, NY
Police Officer Louise M. Johnston Brooklyn, NY
Police Officer Vito S. Mauro Brooklyn, NY
Police Officer Gary G. Mausberg Floral Park, NY
Police Officer Christopher S. McMurry Orangeburg, NY
Lieutenant Brian S. Mohamed Mt. Vernon, NY
Detective Michael P. Morales Staten Island, NY
Police Officer Robert Nicosia Wantagh, NY
Police Officer Patrice M. Ott Pearl River, NY
Police Officer Angelo Peluso Staten Island, NY
Lieutenant Gerald Rex Staten Island, NY
Detective Roberto L. Rivera New York, NY
Sergeant Michael W. Ryan Smithtown, NY
Sergeant Edward D. Thompson Staten Island, NY
Police Officer Ronald E. Weintraub Holbrook, NY
Detective Robert W. Williamson Nanuet, NY
Inspector Richard D. Winter Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Detective John T. Young Highland Mills, NY
Detective James Zadroga White Plains, NY

“This powerful exhibit reminds us that the attacks of September 11th were, first and foremost, attacks upon America,” said New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “Those who responded heroically that day and in the months that followed did so on behalf of the entire nation. And as a nation we owe them and their families our support.”

Police Commissioner Kelly reads the names of the
29 officers who have died from WTC ailments.

“In the past two weeks I’ve attended funeral services for two New York City police officers who died from toxic exposure while responding to the nation’s call on 9/11,” said Patrick J. Lynch, President of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. “More NYC police officers have now died since the attack than were killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center. Twenty-three officers died in the collapse and 30 have died since. And there are 84 more NYC police officers fighting gallantly for their lives as we stand here today. These men and women didn’t question or debate when their nation called them to duty, they responded. America owes them and their families a debt. It is time for the US Senate to stand up and do what is right and cast their vote in favor of the Zadroga bill.”

“The time to pass the legislation is now,” says Mike Palladino, President of the Detectives Endowment Fund. “Detective Zadroga was the first , but won’t be the last to succumb to a 9/11 related illness. Many first responders are counting on the medical monitoring and treatment this bill would provide.”

“Nine years ago local law enforcement was called upon to be the first line of defense for our country as the United States was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001,” said Roy T. Richter, President of the Captains Endowment Association. “The days, weeks and months after September 11th were spent restoring order to our nation and searching for our colleagues and fellow citizens trapped in the wreckage of the World Trade Center. We worked in a toxic environment of airborne toxins, burning rubble and pulverized structures without adequate safety equipment. Today tens of thousands of first responders are dying from the exposure to these toxins having sacrificed their health for our country. Their sacrifice should not be forgotten by our country. I urge the Senate to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to provide much needed care and coordination of medical treatment to those who came to the defense of the United States in its time of need.”

CEA President Roy Richter displays photo of wrecked Department auto belonging to the late Inspector Donald Feser.  Inspector Feser survived the collapse of the buildings on September 11, 2001 and toiled continuously at Ground Zero for months following the terrorist attack on our country. 

Inspector Feser recently died from lung cancer as a result of his exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.  He was represented at the press conference by his widow, Virginia Feser.

“Nothing should be more important to our elected officials than getting The James Zadroga 9/11 Healthcare and Compensation Act passed by the Senate," said Ed Mullins, the President of the New York City Sergeants Benevolent Association, whose 11,000 members make it the fifth largest police union in the country. "A total of 23 NYPD and 37 Port Authority police officers were killed on 9/11, but the number of police officers who are seriously ill or have since died from ailments associated with their rescue and recovery efforts is much greater than that. There is no end in sight to the ever-growing list of 9/11 casualties. While I applaud Senator Gillibrand and the other elected officials who have worked hard to get this bill passed, it is disheartening and downright disappointing to know that some of their colleagues are using these selfless heroes as political pawns. If there was ever a case for bipartisan politics, this is it. It's about time that everyone involved put politics aside and just did the right thing."

“The New York City Police Museum is honored to be sharing the heroism of the first responders and the important work they did in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001,” said Julie Bose, Executive Director of the New York City Police Museum. “Our entire nation is indebted to them for their service.”

“It is unconscionable that numerous responders have become ill and died during the period that this bill has languished,” said Catherine McVey Hughes of Manhattan Community Board 1. “For the sake of all responders and survivors sickened as a result of the WTC collapse, the US Senate must pass the 9/11 Health Bill in this session.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in September with bipartisan support from 17 Republican Representatives. The bill was immediately sent to the U.S. Senate, where, at Senator Gillibrand’s request, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked Senate Rule 14 Process, which fast tracked the bill for floor consideration, bypassing the much longer and uncertain committee consideration process that the vast majority of bills undergo.

While this process does not guarantee consideration or passage, it does remove obstacles, including a lengthy committee process that can stall the bill for months, or kill it before it is brought to the floor.
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